The Classic is set for Feb. 18-20 on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans. The field of 50 anglers will be fishing for a $500,000 top prize.
So far, Williamson, who won a Bassmaster Elite Series event on Clarks Hill Lake this past spring, is the only fisherman from South Carolina who has qualified for the Classic, but Davy Hite of Ninety Six is still in the running, as is Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg.
Hite was No. 40 in the Bass Angler of the Year standings, with the top 37 fishermen getting automatic berths. Six other fishermen will qualify through three BASS Open trails, and if any of the Open qualifiers have already qualified through the Elite series, Bass will move one spot farther down on the Elite list for the next qualifier.
With one tournament remaining in each Open division, two pros are among the leaders, and one other is in striking range, as is Hite, who is fifth in the Southern Open standings. Montgomery leads the Southern Open standings entering the final tournament of the year - Georgia's Lake Seminole in October.
Six fishermen from the BASS Federation National Championship will qualify for the Classic, as well as the winner of the Bassmaster Weekend Series.
Hite was among three South Carolina fishermen who were just a few spots away from qualifying for the Classic. Marty Robinson of Lyman finished 43rd, Casey Ashley of Donalds was 46th and Jason Quinn of Lake Wylie was 53rd.
Hite moved up more than 10 spots in the final tournament of the year, the Sooner Run on Oklahoma's Fort Gibson Lake. He finished 11th with a 4-day total of 59 pounds, two ounces. Robinson was 26th with 41-9 - the only other South Carolina pro in the money. Hometown favorite Tommy Biffle won the $100,000 first-prize money.
In the next-to-last Bass Elite event of the season, on Kentucky Lake, Quinn had a fourth-place finish, 14 pounds behind winner Kevin Van Dam. Quinn had 78-15 for four days. Britt Myers of Mount Holly finished 16th with 52-13, Williamson was 21st with 51-8, Robinson was 39th with 46-0 and Ashley was 42nd with 44-2.
Herman Vining of Gilbert and Jay Keith of Camden finished first and second among South Carolina fishermen in The Bass Federation's Southern Divisional Championship on Alabama's Lake Eufala June 9-11.
Vining's win puts him in the TBF National Championship next June. Keith also qualified for the tournament, but because his win in this past April's national championship gave him a berth on the FLW Tournament Trail, a scheduling conflict forced him to give up his spot to Darrell Shull of West Columbia, who finished third.
Vining finished the 3-day tournament with 53.63 pounds, taking over with a final-day weight of 21.88. Keith was second with 48.56.
The Divisional Championships are made up of teams of 12 anglers from each state. Two anglers from each state will go on to the National Championship with the chance to win a $100,000 package and a year's entry on the FLW Trail and a spot at the All-American tournament.
South Carolina finished third as a team in the divisional, behind Georgia and North Carolina.
Three wins in one day for striper-fishing pair
It's unusual enough for fishing teams to win two tournaments in the same day, but three?
That's the feat that Rob Hedrick from Bessemer City, N.C., and his fishing partner, Wes Gilmore, from Crouse, N.C., did on Clarks Hill Lake on May 29.
Three striped bass tournaments were scheduled that day: the Shriner Benefit Striper Tournament, the Christian Angler Striper Trail, and the Striper Bass Conservation Coalition tournament.
The Shriner tournament allowed fishermen to weigh in four fish; the CAST tournament weighed in five fish, and the SBCC event weighed in two fish.
Hedrick and Gilmore had two fish in the boat before 7 a.m. and quit fishing at 11 a.m. to concentrate on keeping their five fish alive until 4 p.m., when the weigh-ins began.
They won the Shiner tournament with 89.21 pounds, the CAST with 107.02 pounds and the SBCC event with 50.05 pounds. Their two biggest fish weighed 26.44 and 23.61 pounds, and they were required to be weighed in a live.
Hedrick and Gilmore released all five fish alive; that earned them the honor of being the SBCC's Team of the Year.
"The good Lord really blessed us," Hedrick said. "We had the best morning of our life fishing when we needed it the most."
King wins on Wateree BFL
Wayne King of Sumter won the FLW Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament on Lake Wateree May 22 with a 5-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, one ounce. His first-place prize money was $3,804.
Three other South Carolina fishermen were in the top five. Timmy Thompkins of Myrtle Beach was second with 19-10 for $1,902; Michael Maxfield of Hanahan was fourth with 18-1 for $888, and Jeremiah Jensen of Columbia was fifth with 17-6 for $761.
Kenneth Moore of Fort Mill, won the co-angler division with a 5-bass limit weighing 17-4 to win $1,902.
The remaining top five co-anglers were: Scott Sellers of Anderson, second with 13-5 for $951; Michael Stephens of Gastonia, N.C., third with 12-9 for $634; Scott Peavy of Lugoff, fourth with 12-7 for $444; and Travis Osborn of Summerville, fifth with 11-13 for $380.
Anderson is ABA Clarks Hill champ
Phillip Anderson of Saluda won the American Bass Anglers 2-day D-96 championship tournament on Clarks Hill Lake in late-May, also taking home Angler of the Year and Big Bass of the Year honors.
Anderson finished with 10 fish that weighed 21.6 pounds at Clarks Hill. His 8.41-pound bass from Lake Greenwood in February held up as the biggest fish caught on the circuit in 2010.
William Hooker of Appling, Ga., finished second at Clarks Hill with 17.84 pounds. Dan Richey of McCormick finished third with 17.83 pounds, plus a 4.31-pound big fish on Day 2. James Stone of Lowendesville finished fourth with 15.39 pounds, plus the Day 1 big fish, a 5.66-pound lunker. Phil Morris of Saluda finished fifth with 13.77.
Carolina Anglers Team Trail,
Lake Wateree, June 5
1. Steve Phillips (Lugoff), 5 bass, 22.5 pounds, plus bonus, $1,040; 2. Chad Gainey-Cleve Yarborough (Hartsville), 5, 20.88, plus big fish, 6.44 pounds, $563; 3. John Cowart ( Jefferson)-Sam Jacoby (Marshville, N.C.), 20.8, $337, plus second big fish 5.81 pounds; 4. Wallace Kniphfer (Cassatt)-Kim Barfield (Camden), 5, 17.88, $130; 5. Steve Pizzino-Darryl Clark (Sumter), 17.19, $100.
Lake Wateree May 29
1. Steve Lowder (Sumter)-Billy McIntosh (Wedgefield), 5 bass, 19.88 pounds, plus bonus, $1,216; 2. Paul Wells (Union)-Donald Wells (Ridgeway), 5, 17.38, $375; 3. Donnie Mairs-Dean Benfield (Gastonia, NC), 5, 17.06, $275; 4. Daniel Jordan-Chad Parker (Hartsville), 16.69, $150; 5. Dean West-Ryan West (Hartsville), 16.63, $115. Big Fish: Chad Rabon (Camden)-Walt Almond ( McBee), 5.69, $224; Dale Goff (Lugoff)-Arthur Harris (Columbia), second big fish, 5.69, $95.00.
Lake Murray Summer Qualifier, May 29
1. Rob Thames ( Lexington)-Mike Ward (Irmo), 5, 30.13 pounds, bonus, plus big fish, 9.56 pounds, $826; 2. Sean Anderson (Saluda)-George Berry (Batesburg), 20.56, plus second big fish, 5.13, $279; 3. Bobby Stanfill (Greenwood)-Chip Grice (Honea Path) 5, 19.06, $100.
Santee Cooper, May 22
1. Nelson Walker (Manning)-Chris Brunson (Sumter), 5 bass, 17.32 pounds, $2,500; 2. Tony Truett (Sumter), 17.07, plus big fish, 8.72 pounds, plus bonus, $1,542; 3.Dan Barnes (Ladsen)-Ken Barnes (Elloree), 14.49, $550; 4. Danny Lowery (Gable)-Terry Coleman (Sumter), 14.17, plus second big fish, 4.81, $378; 5. Tracey Hewitt (Cope), 13.82, $200.