"It was the most disappointing tournament in my 16-year career," said Hite, who entered the tournament in 36th place in the standings, needing only to hold on to qualify for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, "more disappointing than finishing second in the Classic. I've had some tournaments where if I'd done things a little differently, I would have won a bunch of money, but this time I just did not stick with my game plan. It's frustrating to know what to do and then not go out and do it."
Hite opened the first day of the tournament in 91st place with five bass that weighed 10 pounds, 11 ounces, and he improved only slightly the second day to 88th place with a 2-day total to 22 pounds, 10 ounces.
"I caught 25 keepers that first day. If I had caught just one 4-pounder I would have been in great shape, but my biggest fish was 2½ pounds, and I was in 90th place," said Hite whose disappointing finish dropped him to 47th in the standings, well below the cut-off for the Classic.
Ashley, on the other hand, started out in good shape, finishing the first day in 19th place with a limit that weighed 14 pounds, 10 ounces. But on the second day he faltered, dropping to 73rd place with a limit that weighed just nine pounds, 12 ounces.
"Casey is a bright, young star who has a big future in BASS," said Hite who commiserated with the younger pro after the tournament. "He was up real high after the first day, but basically, on the second day, he got stubborn trying to catch a big fish and fell way, way back."
The swoon, however, did not keep Ashley from qualifying for the Classic, scheduled for Feb. 19-21, 2010, on Lay Lake near Birmingham, Ala. Finishing 19th place in the overall standings, he will be one of two South Carolina pros fishing the championship.
The other will be Quinn, who slipped into the field on the basis of his fifth-place finish at Oneida. He entered the tournament in 55th place in the standings and fished his way to 35th, qualifying for his fifth Classic appearance by a mere 10 points.
His previous Classic experience should come in handy next February. Two of the four Classics he's fished have been on Lay Lake.
Quinn had a solid tournament at Oneida Lake, weighing in four limits that totaled 57 pounds, eight ounces, and winning $14,000.
He finished the first day in 10th place with a 15-pound, 7-ounce limit, and he jumped to third place on the second day with five more than weighed 16 pounds, 5 ounces. After the third day, he was in fifth place with five that weighed 13 pounds, three ounces, and he finished fifth with a limit at 12 pounds, nine ounces.
Jason Williamson of Aiken had to be as disappointed as Hite at not making the Classic. Williamson was in 13th place at Oneida Lake with a 2-day total of 10 bass that weighed 29 pounds, but he slipped slightly on the third day with just 121 pounds, one ounce, and finished 37th. That might have been the deciding factor, as he finished the year in 43r place in the standings, just 19 points and four places from making the cut for the Classic field.
In his 16 years on the BASS Trail, Hite has only missed making the Classic three times, but this one hurt the most, he said. But, he added: "Maybe this is what I need to refocus and regain the drive I had five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, because I have a really raw place in my belly right now."
If so, his competitors better be prepared. Hite's pro fishing history is that when he is down, he gets back up stronger than before and more determined than ever.
Woods first in ABA on Greenwood
Jeff Woods of Waterloo weighed in five bass at 17.37 pounds, including the big bass at 6.42 pounds, to win the Aug. 8 American Fishing Tour event on Lake Greenwood. Woods fished the lower and mid-lake areas, catching most of his fish on plastic worms in brushpiles in 20 feet of water on points.
Kevin Knotts of Cross Hill finished second with 11.81 pounds, followed by Brandon Cobb of Greenwood with 10.44 pounds; Phillip Anderson with 8.80 pounds, and John Axsom of Gray Court with 8.54 pounds.
Clouse, Rampey win at Keowee
Greg Clouse of Six Mile and Jayme Rampey of Walhalla weighed in five bass at 14.31 pounds at Lake Keowee on July 26 to take first place and win $510 in the final 2009 National Bass Circuit Upstate Division tournament.
Mike and Brian Tidwell of Seneca finished second with 9.59 pounds and won $284. Rounding out the top five were: Tommy Guthke of Hendersonville N.C., and Jason Woodring, third with five that weighed 9.42 pounds; Bradley Rhodes and Chris Dorlan, fourth with five that weighed 8.88 pounds; and Kevin Gray of Arden, N.C., and Shawn Gray of Horseshoe, N.C., fifth with four that weighed 4.41 pounds.
Guthke and Woodring won the points title for the Upstate Division by just two points over Rhodes and Dorlan.
Benefit tournaments fill October
With the fish and fishermen coming out of the summer doldrums, October is a great time to hold fishing tournaments that benefit good causes, and Lake Wateree and Lake Murray will be the site of two each this month.
The annual Tri-State Open on Lake Wateree gets things rolling on Oct. 3 out of Clearwater Cove. The goals of the Tri-State Bass Club are to educate minority youths on bass fishing and conservation. In 2007, volunteers from the club, working with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, planted 2,000 water willows at six locations along Lake Murray's shoreline.
For information, call Charles Curry (800-245-6447), Steph Blackwell (803-473-4096) or William Smalls (803-788-8529), or write: Tri State Bass Club, c/o Frank Murray, 558 Christopher Lane, Chester, SC, 29706.
Put on by the Michelin Tire Company in Lexington, the first annual Michelin United Way Bass Tournament will be held Oct. 17 out of Lake Murray Marina, with all proceeds going to the United Way of the Midlands.
Entry fee is $110 per team ($130 the day of the tournament), which includes the $10 big bass contest. First place is guaranteed $2,500, based on 100 entries, and second place will get $1,000.
For information, call Jeff Weaver (803-951-5389). Details are also available at www.uwbigfish.info.
Midlands anglers will have their choice of tournaments Oct. 24. The 12th Annual Jamey Patrick Bass Tournament will be held out of Billy Dreher Island State Park on Lake Murray, and the19th Annual Toys For Tots Tournament will be held out of Clearwater Cove on Lake Wateree.
Sponsored by the Shaw Bassers, the Toys for Tots Tournament helps raise funds for the U.S. Marine Corps program that provides toys to youngsters at Christmas. For information, call Bud Langley (803-481-3830) or Lou Gross (803-418-5173).
The Jamey Patrick Tournament raises funds for an endowment in basketball at Newberry College in honor of Patrick, who died when he was 32 years old from a rare virus that affected his heart.
Patrick was a teammate of Scott Gardner, athletics director and head boys basketball coach at Newberry Academy, who runs the tournament in honor of his former college teammate.
Entry fee is $110 per team or $65 per individual angler ($20 more at the ramp), and it includes the big bass contest. For details, call or email Gardner (803-276-2303 or email@example.com).
Carolina Anglers Team Trail Lake Murray Fall 2009
CATT Murray Fall No. 1, Oct. 3; CATT Murray Fall No. 2, Oct. 17; CATT Murray Fall No. 3, Nov. 7; CATT Murray Fall No. 4, Nov. 21, CATT Murray Fall Final, Dec. 5 - all out of Dreher Island State Park on Lake Murray.
Carolina Anglers Team Trail Lake Wateree Fall 2009
CATT Wateree Fall No. 1, Sept. 26, CATT Wateree Fall No. 2, Oct. 10; CATT Wateree Fall No. 3, Oct. 17; CATT Wateree Fall No. 4, Nov. 14; CATT Wateree Fall Final, Nov. 28 – all out of Clearwater Cove, Lake Wateree.
Carolina Anglers Team Trail Lake Wylie Fall 2009
CATT Wylie Fall No. 1, Oct. 10; CATT Wylie Fall No. 2, Oct. 17; CATT Wylie Fall No. 3, Nov. 7; CATT Wylie Fall No. 4, Nov. 21; CATT Wylie Fall Final, Dec. 12 - all out of Buster Boyd Bridge, Lake Wylie.
Contact: Brett Collins, 803-413-7521; website: www.carolinaanglersteamtrail.com. Entry fee: $80 team, $10 late fee at ramp; Fall Final, $120 team, $10 late fee at ramp. Membership fee: $30 individual, $60 team.
C & R Bass Series Savannah River Division,
Winter Blast 2009
C & R Savannah Winter No. 1, Thurmond/Clarks Hill, Wildwood Park, Oct. 24; C & R Savannah Winter No. 2, Lake Russell, Elberton, Nov. 14; C & R Savannah Winter No. 3, Thurmond/Clarks Hill, Wildwood Park, Dec. 12; C & R Savannah Winter No. 4, Lake Russell, Elberton, Dec. 27; C & R Savannah Winter No. 5, Thurmond/Clarks Hill, Wildwood Park, Jan. 24, 2010; C & R Bass Series Classic, Lake Eufaula, Ala., Lakepoint State Park, March 6-7, 2010.
Contact: Clay Johns, 770-722-5795. Website: www.candroutdoors.com
VisionCasters Bass Tournaments
VisionCasters No. 1, Lake Hartwell, Portman Shoals, Sept. 19; VisionCasters No. 2, Lake Hartwell, Portman Shoals, Oct. 24; VisionCasters No. 3, Lake Hartwell, Portman Shoals, Nov. 14; VisionCasters No. 4, Lake Hartwell, Portman Shoals, Dec. 19; VisionCasters No. 5, Lake Keowee, Gap Hill Landing, Jan. 9, 2010; and VisionCasters No. 6, Lake Hartwell, Portman Shoals, Feb. 20, 2010.
Contact: Charlie Harbin, 864-958-0866. Website: www.templebaptistanderson.com
National Bass Circuit Pro Series Santee Cooper Division
NBC Santee No. 7, John C. Land Landing, Oct. 10.
Contact: Scott Turner, 704-791-4210, firstname.lastname@example.org; Steven Felder, 803-983-2479, email@example.com. Website: www.national-bass.com.
Phil Shope Team Trail
Phil Shope No. 3, Lake Hartwell, Portman Shoals, Oct. 3, 2009. Contact Phil Shope (828-606-1130) or Kasey Strickland (864-225-0145). Entry fee: $125 per team. Membership fee: $40 per year
The Bass Federation of South Carolina
Six-man Team Tournament, Clearwater Cove, Lake Wateree, Oct. 17-18, 2009; TBF SC Final, Dorn Facility, Clarks Hill Lake, Nov. 7-8, 2009.
Contact: Herman Vining (803-600-2379) or Kevin Thivierge (803-516-1567). Entry fee: $125 anglers, $75 co-anglers, $660 per six-man team, $25 late fee. Website: www.tbfofsc.com
Tournament directors: Send your schedules and results in the format shown as soon as possible after your tournaments. Results MUST include names, hometowns, number of fish caught, total weight, prize money and big fish information. Email to Pat Robertson: firstname.lastname@example.org.