Ashley made BASS history as the youngest pro - 23 years old - to win an Elite Series event when he finished first at Smith Mountain in 2007 with a 4-day total of 57 pounds, three ounces.
He finished out of the money at Smith Lake this past April, in 56th place with a 2-day total of nine bass that weighed 22-10.
The top South Carolina finisher at Smith Mountain was Davy Hite of Ninety Six, a former Bassmasters Classic champion. Hite missed the cut for the final round by just 12 ounces, finishing with a 3-day total of 15 bass that weighed 39-5, winning $9,506.
Marty Robinson of Lyman finished 41st with 15 bass that weighed 33-13 and also won $9,506. Jason Quinn of York also finished in the money with 15 bass that weighed 33-10, winning $9,506.
Wade Grooms of Bonneau finished well down the standings in 60th place, but he had the big bass on the first day at 6-8.
Ashley fared much better at Wheeler, where he made a surge on the last day from 15th to second place, weighing in five bass at 19-11, the heaviest bag of the day.
Ashley had 46-4 ounces and finished 4½ pounds behind Oklahoma's Tommy Biffle.
Ashley, who won $25,000, fished jerkbaits along a variety of edges and bluffs in six to 12 feet of water to catch a limit by 8:30 the final morning. He switched to a jig in shallow water and caught a 6-pounder around grass to boost his final day weight.
Four other South Carolina pros finished in the money at Wheeler: Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, 15th with 38-9 for $10,000; Jason Williamson of Aiken, 17th with 37-7 for $10,000; Marty Robinson of Lyman, 21st with 37-1 for $10,000; and Jason Quinn of York, 29th with 35-9 for $10,000.
Rodgers in top five at Norman
Lake Norman has been difficult in past years for Dearal Rodgers of Camden. It has stood in the way of his march to the top of the FLW Tour's co-angler standings.
"FLW had gone to Lake Norman three years in a row," Rodgers said. "Every tournament, after day one, I was in the top 30, and then on the (second) day, I'd draw a pro who was sight-fishing. Last year, I zeroed behind a sight fisherman."
Rodgers spent the offseason thinking about that and working to improve his game.
"I needed to figure out how to catch fish when I'm paired with someone who is sight fishing," he said.
On the first day of the FLW event on Lake Norman in late April, Rodgers drew pro Greg Pugh, who was sight-fishing. Rodgers rigged a drop-shot with a shad worm and caught two fish behind Pugh. He caught several more on a green pumpkin trick worm and wound up in fourth place with nine pounds.
The next day, he was paired with Guido Hibdon, who was fishing docks - a technique Rodgers is very familiar with from his home water at Lake Wateree. He caught another limit that weighed 8-8. On the third day, he drew pro Sean Hoernke, who was running and gunning on bedding fish. Rodgers went back to the drop shot to snag three bass that weighed 5-6 to finish fifth and win $4,000.
"Now I won't be worried if I draw someone who is sight fishing," Rodgers said. "Now I feel like I can go out there anywhere and still catch fish."
Rodgers, who finished 13th in the co-angler Angler of the Year standings last year, is second in the points after Lake Norman.
Three fishermen from South Carolina anglers finished in the money on the pro side at Lake Norman: Dale Evans of Summerville, ninth with 31-12 for $22,000; Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, 13th with 21-14 for $15,000; and Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, 34th with 19-4 for $12,000.
SC anglers are in money at Eufaula
Four pro fishermen from South Carolina cashed checks in the FLW Series Eastern Division tournament on Alabama's lake Lake Eufaula in early April.
Tops was Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, who finished 16th with 14 bass that weighed 44 pounds to win $12,000. Others included: Chuck Howard of Elloree, 22nd with 41-1 for $11,500; Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, 35th with 36-2 for $10,500; and Ken Ellis of Bowman, 43rd with 33-13 for $10,000.
Irmo teen wins ESPN Junior event
Ross Burns, a junior at Irmo High School in Columbia, caught four bass that weighed seven pounds, three ounces, to win the 15-18 age group in the ESPN Junior Bassmaster Southern Division on April 3 at North Carolina's Lake Gaston.
The South Carolina team finished third in the Southern Division, which also included South Africa, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Burns, the son of Kevin and Martha Burns of Columbia, qualified for the Junior Bassmasters World Championship to be held in conjunction with the Federation Nation Championship in October on the Harris Chain of lakes in Florida.
Jackson Cowdrey of Lyman weighed in two bass at four pounds, six ounces, to finish third in the 11-14 age division.
The tournament was held in conjunction with the BASS Federation Nation Southern Divisional. Brent Long, who lives at Catawba, N.C., but fishes for South Carolina, was the top South Carolina finisher, taking second with 15 bass that weighed 43-14.
Long and the other Southern Divisional qualifiers, will be among the 55 championship contenders vying for six spots in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, scheduled for Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala.
Conrad Bolt of Seneca finished fourth overall with 13 bass that weighed 39-6.
Lake Wylie pair win King Kat
Tim Farris and Kim Henderson of Lake Wylie weighed in a whopping 127.15 pounds to take first place in the Cabela's King Kat Tournament out of Black's Camp at Santee Cooper Lakes on March 14.
Farris and Henderson anchored up in 10 feet of water and caught their fish on cut shad. They won $3,000.
Another South Carolina team, George Lindsey of Chester and Damon Gibson of Richburg, weighed in 118.15 pounds for second place and $1,200. They drifted cut shad and perch in 25 to 28 feet of water.
The rest of the top five included: Cecil and Cheryl Menshouse of Catlettsburg, Ky., third with 118.05 pounds; Jerry Walker of Omaha, Neb., and Rick Walker of Moncks Corner, fourth with 117.65 pounds; and Rod Koch of Anderson and Richard Campbell and Charlie Humphries of Cross, fifth with 112.45 pounds.
Skip Martin and Christina Jones of Akron, Ohio, caught the big fish of the tournament, a 52.95-pound blue catfish, while drifting Lake Moultrie with skipjack and gizzard shad for bait in 10 feet of water.
Leesville team wins Crappie USA
Todd and Leonard Flick of Leesville "shot the docks" at Clarks Hill on April 25 to catch 12.14 pounds and win the Semi-Pro Division of the Crappie USA Super Event, earning a check for $2,600.
The Flicks shot several different colors of jigs under the docks in five to 15 feet of water.
Ellis and Jon Cannon of Chapin also used several different colors of jigs, but their best fish came from deep water on a double-jig rig in yellow and black. The Cannons weighed in 9.29 pounds for second place and earned $1,500. They also won $135 for the big fish at 2.53 pounds.
Bassin' Bruin Lake Wateree, April 18
1. Chad Gainey-Cleve Yarborough, 5, 17-3, $2,000, plus $180 for second big fish, 5.36 pounds; 2. Skeebo Kelly-Joe Kelly (Harstsville), 5, 15.52, $1,000; 3. Brent Collins-Van Collins (Ridgeway), 5, 15.44, $700, plus $400 for 6.03-pound big fish; 4. Allen Streeter-Van Johnson, 5, 13.10, $325; 5. Greg Sigmon-Chris Langley (Lancaster), 5, 13.10, $325; and (tie) Randy Smith-Junior Smith (Hartsville), 5, 13.10, $325.
Wal-Mart BFL, Savannah River Division
Lake Hartwell, April 18
Co-Anglers: 1. Greg Clouse (Easley), 5, 17-11, $2,175; 3. Brad Surrett (Travelers Rest), 5, 14-12, $717, plus $305 for 6-4 big bass; Boaters: 2. Darren Ashley (Calhoun Falls), 5, 18-6, $2,157, plus $610 for 7-0 big fish; 3. Brandon Cobb (Greenwood), 5, 17-8, $1,439.
Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments
Spring Final, Lake Wateree, April 11
1. Dearal Rodgers (Camden)-Trent McLaughlin (Cassatt), 5, 18-1, plus 6-3 second big fish, $4,009; 2. Steve Pizzino (Dalzell)-Keith DuBose (Shiloh), 5, 17-7, $1,500; 3. David Ethridge-Mike Catoe (Lancaster), 17-1, $1,130; 4. Tim Haven-Craig Haven (Lugoff), 14-4, $800; 5. Joe Kelly-Skeebo Kelly (Hartsville), 12-15, $525; 6. Paul Wells-Donald Wells (Ridgeway), 12-14, plus 6-14 big fish, $891.
Lake Murray, April 4, 2009
1. Hans Cansler-Chad Hamm (Aiken), 5, 19-12, including 6-5 big fish, $1,225; 2. Steve Wicker-Andy Wicker (Pomaria), 5, 18-8, $360; 3. Josh McGregor (Timmonsville)- Randall Driggers (Turbeville), 5, 17-13, $260; 4. Mike Powers-Jake Frick (Lexington), 5, 17-4, $130; 5. Jeremy Wilson-Ashley Wilson (Blacksburg), 5, 17-1, $110.
Lake Murray, April 25, 2009
1. Darryl Starkey-Kevin Kelly (Little Mountain), 5, 21- 7, including 5-1 second big fish, $961; 2. Willie Wilson-Jeremy Wilson (Lincolnton), 5, 16-11, $350, 3. Mike McCaslin-Blair McCaslin (Pomaria), 5, 16-0, $225; 4. Johnny Mayer (Pomaria)-Chris Epting (Chapin), 5, 16-5, $125; 5. Dean Stribble-Michael Stribble (Newberry), 5, 15-11, including 5-2 big fish, $289.
Santee Cooper, April 4, 2009
1. Clay Lowder (Mayesville)-Jon Smoak (Sumter), 5, 21-12, $900; 2. Joe Avins-Neil McGinnis (Florence), 5, 20-8, including 7-11 second big fish, $375; 3. Ed Paul-Eddie Paul (Summerton), 20-3, including 7-15 big fish, $375; 4. Jimmy Cole (Sumter)-Gary Weathersbee (Pinewood), 16-9, $110; 5. Mike Watson-Jim Smoak (Sumter), 16-8, $100.
Santee Cooper, April 25, 2009
1. Eddie Cox (Goose Creek)-Cecil Wolf (Hanahan), 5, 30-2, including 8-7 big fish, $987; 2. Clay Lowder (Mayesville)-Jon Smoak (Sumter), 5, 20-7, $300; 3. David Malin (Ladson)-Robbie Sacora (Moncks Corner), 5, 20-3, $200; 4. Bob Patrick-David Carlton (Summerton), 19-14, $100; 5. Ed Paul-Eddie Paul (Summerton), 1-14 pounds 14 ounces, $100.
Lake Wylie, April 25, 2009
1. Louie Hull (Casar, N.C.)-Chuck Montgomery (Grover, N.C.), 5, 15-3, plus Stratos bonus, $1,100; 2. Tim Chapman (Kings Mountain, N.C.)-Eddie Smith (Gastonia, N.C.), 5, 14-14, $300; 3. Gary Michaud (Chesnee)-Doc McDaniel (Mooresboro, N.C.), 5, 14-9, $200; 4. Tom Russell-Doug Gilmer (Fort Mill), 5, 12-12, $100.
American Bass Anglers D-96
Lake Russell, April 5, 2009
1. Ryan McMurtury (Abbeville), 5, 16.01, plus 3.93 big fish, $539; 2. Tony Sheppard (Lexington), 5, 13.55, $259. 3. Curtis Temples (Saluda), 5, 13.10, $144.
American Bass Anglers Couples Series
South Carolina Division 11
Lake Greenwood, April 11, 2009
1. Don Poteat-Donna Poteat (Morganton, N.C.), 3, 8.36, $750; 2. Don Goodfellow-Martha Goodfellow (Simpsonville), 3, 8.35 pounds, $375; 3. John Mills-Susan Mills (Leesville), 5, 7.75 pounds, $225; 4. Jerry Ulrich-Tootsie Bivens (Eutawville), 5, 6.74, $150.
S.C. Wildlife Federation, Statewide Bass Tournament, Lake Wateree, June 13. Contact: Ray Nelson, 803-331-2390; SCWF, 803-256-0670; email@example.com; Entry fee, $130; $2,000 first prize guaranteed. Download entry form at: www.scwf.org.
American Bass Anglers/AFT D-96: July 26, Lake Murray; Aug. 9, Lake Greenwood; Sept. 13, Clarks Hill; Oct. 11, Lake Greenwood, Nov. 22, Clarks Hill; Feb. 28, 2010, Lake Greenwood; March 21, 2010, Lake Murray; April 11, 2010, Lake Russell; May 12, 2010, Clarks Hill; May 22-23, Championship, Clarks Hill. Contact: Phil Morris, 864-993-0346, firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.americanbassanglers.com
Carolina Anglers Team Tournaments: Summer Schedule - Lake Wateree, June 6, 13, 20, 27; Summer Final July. 11. Fall Schedule - Lake Wateree, Sept. 26, Oct. 10, 17, Nov. 21; Fall Final Nov. 28; Lake Wylie, Oct. 10, 17, Nov. 7, 21; Fall Final Dec. 12; Lake Murray, Oct. 3, 17, Nov. 7, 21; Fall Final Dec. 5; Lake Norman, Sept. 19, Oct. 10, 17, 24, Nov. 14, 21; Fall Final Nov. 28. Contact: Brett Collins, 803-413-7521, email: email@example.com. Website: www.carolinaanglersteamtrail.com
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.