Two South Carolina anglers, however, are praising the "Ides of March" after winning on the BASS Elite and FLW tours the weekend of March 15.
Jason Williamson, a third-year pro from Aiken, weighed in a whopping 68 pounds of bass the final two days of the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Amistad along the Texas-Mexico border to win the $100,000 first prize.
At the same time, Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity caught a final-round total of 28 pounds, 14 ounces to win his fourth title and earn a $125,000 paycheck in the Walmart FLW Tour event on Missouri's Table Rock Lake.
The win moved Gagliardi closer to the $1 million mark in FLW career earnings. He has won more than $970,800.
After the first two days of the Elite Series opener, Williamson was mired in 38th place with 10 bass that weighed 27-13. But on the third day, he blasted his way to third with five fish that weighed 33-13, and on the final day, he wrapped up the win with five that weighed 34-12.
His 4-day total of 96-6 was more than enough to hold off consistent Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, the 2008 Bassmaster Classic Champion on Lake Hartwell, who finished with 87-15.
Williamson's catches the last two days came from one ultra-productive spot that yielded nothing the first two days. However, as rains died, the clouds dissipated and the sun came out, the spot became crystal clear and an ideal area for big bass.
The area included three to four submerged trees positioned around a drainage channel and was a pathway for visiting and departing bass. Williamson mined the area with an 8-inch Osprey swimbait, which he threw to the trees in nearly 20 feet of water. The key to enticing the right bites, he said, was allowing the bait to sink and keeping it wet for lengths of time.
"There were so many fish in that area that I think they were in competition for my bait," said Williamson, 28. "That's not a bad thing when you can get that going. It was like clockwork."
Williamson has been close to a BASS victory before, scoring two second-place finishes, but he was able to close the deal this time with the biggest bag of the tournament. His limit was buoyed by a 10-4 lunker, the largest bass Williamson has ever landed.
"I'm just a country boy who grew up loving to fish, so you bet this is a huge deal. The victory solidifies everything I have ever done in this sport," Williamson said. "It's also a shot in the arm for the rest of the season. I can fish with confidence now. The timing of this win was just perfect."
Jason Quinn of York finished 27th with a 3-day total of 47-5 and won $10,000. Marty Robinson of Lyman finished 31st with a 3-day catch of 45-3 and also won $10,000.
Gagliardi also started out slowly in the FLW Tour event at Table Rock, finishing the first day in 41st place with five bass that weighed 15-4.
He jumped to eighth place with a 17-15 limit the second day and made the second-round cut with 33-3. With weights zeroed the third day, Gagliardi caught five bass weighing 14-6 to make the final cut in third place. He added another 14-8 limit the final day for a tournament total of 62-1.
Gagliardi topped Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., 2007 Forrest Wood Cup champion, by 10 ounces to claim his third FLW Tour title.
"I was ready to go out and fish today," he said. "I haven't won an (FLW) event since 2006, and that was the only cut I made since 2005, so this feels really good."
Although Gagliardi said it was his first trip to Table Rock, "It's the same type of water and pattern that I am familiar with and the type of lake that I fish back home. I always have enjoyed fishing clear water, and fishing a jerkbait is something that I like. This is actually the first time that I've been able to put together a jerkbait bite in a tournament."
Gagliardi caught most of his fish in the White River, fishing four or five spots in one creek. He also spent time on the James River.
"It wasn't really my plan to run to both of these rivers," he said. "I don't like to do a lot of running. I had to run down one and back up the other, and that was wasting a lot of time. I was hoping that I was able to figure something out so I would only have to go to one river, but that never materialized.
Gagliardi caught his fish on a Lucky Craft Pointer jerkbait.
"The first two days I fished shallow because the fish were positioned up close to the bank. The second day, I struggled, but I did the same thing - fishing the bank with a jerkbait. I tried to keep moving out deeper as the days went on, and at the end of the second day I caught two big fish in 15 to 30 feet of water."
Also at Table Rock, Dearal Rodgers of Camden finished ninth on the co-angler side, earning a check for $2,000.
After the first day, he was in 69th place with one bass that weighed 4-14. The second day, he was paired with a local angler who was fishing a shallow-running jerkbait out in the deeper, clear water.
"I had bought some deep-diving jerkbaits and thought it would be good to try those out there. In practice, I caught only two keepers in three days, but on the fourth day, I caught a keeper (spotted bass) on the first and third casts on the jerkbait, so I felt if I got the opportunity to use it I could catch some fish," Rodgers said.
On the morning of the second day, Rodgers talked to his 2-year-old daughter on the phone, and she told him to catch a big one for her.
"I caught a 3½-pound largemouth on the deep-diving jerkbait, so then I thought I'd catch one for my son. I caught a 2½-pound meanmouth (a spotted bass-smallmouth bass hybrid). Then I caught one for my wife and one for her daddy, and I just kept doing that."
Rodgers weighed in a 13-15 limit that day, the second-largest co-angler bag of the day, and he finished the tournament with 18-13 and a strong leg up in the points race to qualify for the FLW Tour Championship in Pittsburgh this summer as a co-angler.
Craig Fredrychowski of Lexington finished 42nd in the co-angler division with four bass that weighed 9-15 ounces and won $800.
Pope, Pruitt win Southern Crappie Classic
Randy Pope of Hickory, N.C., and Jerry Pruitt of Vale, N.C., weighed in a 2-day total of 34.43 pounds to finish first and win $3,000 in the Southern Crappie Classic on Lake Wylie in late March.
Pope and Pruitt caught their fish shooting Lindy's Grubs under docks from the upper part of the lake to the back of Allison Creek.
First-time Classic qualifiers Rod and Braxton Wall of Ninety Six finished second with 33-0. They caught their fish trolling curlytails, Crappie Snacks, Sliders and Kaylen Grubs in Paw Creek. The Walls, who won $2,756 and were the top adult-youth Team, also had the second big fish of the tournament at 2.6 pounds
Lynn Robertson and David Hinson, both of Lancaster, finished third with 32.17 pounds and won $810. Nick Babin of Gilbert and Mike Berry of Leesville were fourth with 31.25 pounds and won $648.
The top male-female team, Leonard and Rena Frick of Leesville, worked tube jigs in the lower end of the lake to land 29.99 pounds for fifth place and win $767.
Jimmy Hood and Sandy Haseldon of Rock Hill finished 19th, but their 18.24 pounds included a 2.62-pound slab that won the big-fish prize of $1,000.
Scott Cantey of Lake City and Jamie Teal of Scranton finished sixth overall with 29.12 pounds they caught trolling Sliders, Triple Ripples and Uncle Henry's Slab Slayers in Allison Creek. They won $1.040, including a bonus for fishing in a boat from Marshall's Marine in Lake City.
Will Hinson of Cassatt and Todd Hinson of Camden were eighth with 26.11 pounds. They won $924.
Russell Riley of Blythewood and Alan Outlaw of Camden finished 31st with 7.47 pounds, but they took home $1,000 as the season points champions.
Joe Cantey and Milton Downey of Lugoff, who finished 37th, were second in the points race and won $500.
King jigs his way to Santee Cooper win
Wayne King of Sumter targeted cypress trees in shallow water with a jig on March 7 to win the Walmart BFL South Carolina Division tournament on Santee Cooper with five bass that weighed 19 pounds, 12 ounces. First place was worth $4,271.
Rounding out the top five boaters were: 2. William Smith of Moncks Corner, 5 fish, 19-6, $2,136; 3. Kenneth Huntley of Matthews, N.C., 4, 18-4, $1,424; 4. Ronnie McCoy of Lamar, 4, 17-9, $997; 5. Ken Ellis of Bowman, 5, 16-5, $854. Steve Lowder of Lynchburg won the boater division big-bass award and $595 for a 10-12 largemouth.
Charles Wood of Thomasville, N.C., won the co-angler division and $2,064 by working a Carolina-rigged worm around rock piles in eight to 12 feet of water to land three bass that weighed 10-3.
Rounding out the top five in the co-angler division were: 2. James Jackson of Baltimore, Md., 3, 10-1, $1,032; 3. Danny Cannon of Loris, 5, 9-12, $688; 4. Jason Hueble of Newberry, 4, 9-7, $482; 5. Chad Griffin of Ninety Six, 3, 9-4, $413. Scott Peavy of Ridgeway won $287 for the co-angler big bass, a 7-15 lunker he caught on a Carolina rig around stumps.
Rampey wins BFL on Lake Keowee
Jayme Rampey of Liberty won the Walmart BFL Savannah River Division tournament March 14 on Lake Keowee with five bass that weighed 15 pounds, 9 ounces. First place was worth $4,385.
Rampey caught his limit by 9:30 a.m. fishing points and pockets with a Tru-Trac spinnerbait and a jig.
Rounding out the top five boaters were: 2. Sandy Thornton of Elberton, Ga., 5, 13-1, $2,393; 3. Mark Gibson of Seneca, 5, 12-7, $1,463; 4. Chris Baxter of Winder, Ga., 5, 12-0, $1,023; 5. Randy Childers of Anderson, 5, 11-8, $877. Thornton also won $620 for the big bass at 6-14.
Lady angler Lesley Childers of Anderson won the co-angler division and $2,193 with five bass that weighed 11-0.
The top five co-anglers included: 2. Chad Silver of Leicester, N.C., 5, 10-3, $1,096; 3. Heather Broom of Sylva, N.C., 5, 10-2, $730; 4. Greg Glouse of Easley, 5, 9-6, $512; 5. Stephen Reasoner of Harlem, Ga., 5, 8-15,, $439. Robbie McHone won $310 for the co-angler big bass at 4-1.
Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments
Lake Wylie, March 7, 2009
1. John Schohn (Lake Wylie)-Todd Moss (York), 5, 19-14, $630; 2. Rick LaMountain-Chad Lail (Grover, N.C.), 5, 17-7, $350; 3. Hugh Moss-Joes Estes (Gaffney), 5,17-6, $370; 4. Eddie Wooten-Strawberry Wooten (Gastonia, N.C.), 5, 14-13, Big fish: Bill Grier (Charlotte), 6-14, $196.
Lake Wylie, March 14, 2009
1. Hugh Moss-Joe Estes (Gaffney), 5, 20-15, including big fish at 5-9, $844; 2. Tim Chapman (Kings Mountain, N.C.)-Eddie Chapman (Gastonia, N.C.) 5, 19-1, $300; 3. Tom Russell-Doug Gilmer (Fort Mill), 5, 17-12, $200.
Lake Wateree, March 7, 2009
1. Andy Owens (Camden), 5, 18-13, $1,040; 2. Donald Hinson (Lugoff)-Jay Keith (Camden), 5, 17-11, $400; 3. Walt Almond-Chad Rabon (Camden), 16-12, $300; 4. Colon Williams-Butch Williams (Lancaster), 16-7, including second big fish at 5-14, $246; 5. Sandy Moody (Hartsville)-Michael Allen (Darlington), 15-2, $115. Big fish: Carl Smith (Lugoff)-Lorenzo Portee (Ridgeway), 6-9, $224.
Lake Wateree, March 14, 2009
1. Chad Rabon (Camden)-Walt Almond (McBee), 5, 21- 11, $1,180; 2. Andy Owens (Camden), 5, 21-5, $410; 3. Joseph Kelly-Skeebo Kelly (Hartsville), 5, 18-9, $300; 4. Joe Hunter-Rick Porter (Lancaster), 18-11, including 7-8 big fish, $452; 5. Tim Haven-Craig Haven (Lugoff), 18-4, $130.
Lake Wateree, March 21, 2009
1. Rick McLean-Robert Ross (Dalzell), 5, 21-1, $1,370; 2. Billy Bailey (Lancaster)-Sonny Beam (Monroe, N.C.), 5, 20-11, including 7-12 big fish, $815; 3. Mark Richardson-William Richardson (Irmo), 5, 17-12, $350; 4. Brian Heffron (Charlotte)-Dick Heffron, 5, 15-15, $250; and 5. Wayne King (Sumter)-Mark Brice (Florence), 5, 15-11, including 7-5 second big fish, $295.
Lake Wateree, March 28, 2009
1. Dearal Rodgers (Camden)-Trent McLaughlin (Cassatt), 5, 19 pounds, 5 ounces, $1,480; 2. Sam Dowey-Tommy Moak (Lugoff), 5, 17-14, $500; 3. Jay Keith (Camden)-Donald Hinson (Lugoff), 5, 16-11, including second big fish at 5-11, $544; 4. Kirk Crump-Joey Caskey (Lancaster), 15-11, $300; 5. Jeff Hatfield- Shannon Tidwell (Lugoff), 5, 15-8, including 6-3 big fish, $531.
Lake Murray, March 7, 2009
1. Mike Ward (Irmo)-Kevin Britt (Chapin), 5, 20.02 pounds, including second big fish at 6.01 pounds, $852; 2. Neil Huffstetler (Pomaria)-Tim Huffstetler (Little Mountain), 5, 14.03 pounds, including big fish at 6.14 pounds; 3. Kevin Fulmer (Prosperity)-Al Fortner (Ninety Six(), 5, 13.12 pounds, $300; 4. Chris Daves (Columbia)-Darryl Starkey (Little Mountain), 5, 12.09 pounds, $200; 5. Tim Sox (West Columbia)-Alex Huffstetler (Chapin), 5, 12.05, $130.
Lake Murray, March 21, 2009
1. Josh McGregor (Timmonsville)-Randall Driggers (Turbeville), 5, 19.01, $920; 2. Regi Floyd (Gilbert)-Jeff Kersey (Lexington), 5, 15.14, including big fish at 6.07 pounds, $539; 3. Hunter Spivey (Conway), 5, 15.14, $225; 4. Keith Henderson (Union)-Doc McDaniel (Mooresboro, N.C.), 5, 15.03 pounds, $125; 5. Sean Anderson (Saluda)- George Berry (Batesburg), 5, 13.15, $100.
Santee Cooper, Feb. 28, 2009
1. Jeff Parsons (Florence)-Kevin Pierce (Timmonsville), 5, 26-3, $500; 2. Perry Holloway (Sumter)-Danny Lowery (Gables), 5, 19-8, $440; 3. Joe Avin (Summerton)-Brian Jeffords (Lugoff), 5, 17-6, including 5-13 big fish, $219; John Geddings-Dianne Geddings (Sumter), second big fish, 5-8, $51.
Santee Cooper, March 14, 2009
1. Craig Chambers (Ladson)-Don Graham (Moncks Corner), 5, 27-13, $920; 2. Edward Cox (Goose Creek)-Cecil Wolfe (Hanahan), 5, 27-7, $300; 3. Rick McLean (Dalzell)- Corey Alsbrook (Sumter), 4, 21-14, including 8-11 big fish, $375; 4. Joe Avins (Florence)-Brian Jeffords (Sumter), 5, 19-1, $110; Mike Watson-Jim Smoak (Sumter), 5, 18-9, $100.
American Bass Anglers Couples Series
South Carolina Division 11, Lake Murray March 7, 2009
1. Kevin Ashley-Kelly Ashley (Greenwood), 5, 16.36, $863; 2. John Mills-Susan Mills (Leesville), 5, 14.21, $431; 3. Andy Stafford-Brenda Rea (Columbia), 5, 12.76, $259; 4. J.B. Wicker-Tammy Wicker (Hartsville), 5, 12.53, $173; 5. Gene Curtis-Sherri Curtis (Liberty), 4, 9.21. Ladies big bass: Susan Mills, 4.36, $100; Men's big bass: Andy Stafford, 6.65, $105.
American Bass Anglers D-96 Lake Murray, March 22, 2009
1. Sean Anderson (Saluda), 5, 14.50, $723; 2. Curtis Jones (Moncks Corner), 5, 13.46, including 5.12 big fish, $601; 3. Joey Sabbagha (Little Mountain), 5, 13.27, $132; 4. Phillip Anderson (Saluda), 5, 12.74; $104; 5. Dave Murdock (Florence), 5, 12.54, $71.
Walmart Bass Fishing League
South Carolina Division, Lake Wylie, March 28, 2009
Boaters: 1. Greg Rikard (Leesville), 5, 16-15, $4,046; 2. Joe Avin (Summerton), 5, 16-1, $2,023; 3. Chris Marshall (Forest City, N.C.), 5, 14-14, $1,348; 4. Tony Hatten (Huntersville, N.C.), 5, 14-8, $944; 5. Todd Walters (Greensboro, N.C.), 5, 13-12, $809.
Co-anglers: 1. Mark Lynch (Goose Creek), 5, 13-1, $2,023; 2. Todd Lawrence (Rock Hill), 4, 12-7, $1,011; 3. Chad Griffin (Ninety Six), 5, 11-7, $674; 4. Rufus (Doc) McDaniel (Mooresboro, N.C.), 5, 11-1, $472; 5. Greg Atkinson (Ridgeway), 5, 10-9, $405.
Southern Crappie Association
High Rock Lake, January 10, 2009
1. Mike Parrot (Charlotte, N.C.), 12-0, including 2.60 big fish, $1,216; 2. Mark Danque (Chapin), 11.30, $511; 3. Randy Pope (Hickory, N.C.), 10.95, $254.
Badin-Tillery, Feb. 28, 2009
1. Randy Pope (Hickory, N.C.)-Jerry Pruitt (Vale, N.C.), 13.07, $802; 2. Mike Huffstetler-Ray Koon (Chapin), 12.34, $390; 3. Russell Riley (Blythewood)-Alan Outlaw (Camden), 12.32, $217; 4. Bobby Jacobs-Michael Jacobs (Lacross, Va.), 12.31, $195, plus $234 for 1.94 big fish; 5. David Perrel-Phenice Perrel (Germantown, N.C.), 12.08, $173.
Clarks Hill, Feb. 7, 2009
1. Will Hinson (Cassatt)-Todd Hinson (Camden), 16.95, $692; 2. Stokes McClellan (Huntersville, N.C.)-Dale Wood (Lexington, N.C.), 15.95, $386; 3. Marc Danque (Chapin), 15.57, $199; 4. Ellis Cannon-Jon Cannon (Chapin), 15.22, $148; 5. George Cooper (Prosperity)-Gary Phillips (Leesville), 14.32, $131.
Striped Bass Conservation Coalition
Clarks Hill, March 7, 2009
1. Lit'l Moments, Capt. Robb Sidd (Washington, Ga.), 60.37 pounds, including 39.19 pound big fish; $1,650; 2. Martin Steed (Aiken), 17.64, $750; 3. Bait Head, Capt. Rob Hedrick (Charlotte, N.C.), 15.85, $500; 4. Upstate Trophies, Capt. Townsend Wessinger (Newberry), 15.21, $150; 5. Ed Morningstar (Huntingdon, Pa.), 14.04, $100.
Midlands Striper Club Team Tournament
Lake Murray, March 21, 2009
1. Team Jon Boy, Harold Alewine-Debbie Alewine (Rock Hill), 4, 22-1; 2. Team Catch 22, Terry Caulder (Little Mountain)-Shane Foster (Atlanta, Ga.), 4, 21-0; 3. Team Hammerheads, Wynn Corley-Tony Carroll (Lexington)-Chris Hook (West Columbia), 20-13, including 8-10 big fish.
Tournament directors: Send your schedules and your tournament results in the format shown as soon as possible after your tournaments. Be sure to include names, hometowns, number of fish caught, total weight, prize money and big fish information. Email to Pat Robertson: firstname.lastname@example.org.