North Carolina won the team competition between 18 states at the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional presented by Magellan Outdoors underway on Douglas Lake.
North Carolina’s 20 anglers collectively caught 298 pounds, 8 ounces to beat Georgia by a margin of 9 pounds. Georgia took second place with 289-9. South Carolina was third with 288-15, and Virginia weighed 286-1 for fourth place. New Jersey was fifth with 278-6.
“We fished as a team, ate as a team, stayed as a team,” said Chuck Murray, North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation president.
North Carolina also added a new strategy to the team concept. Under the new format for this tournament an angler bringing a boat is paired with a non-boating fisherman. The boater gets to maintain control of the boat while both anglers share the fishing area. The two anglers are paired from different states.
North Carolina’s non-boaters practiced with their boating teammates instead of fishing separately.
“That’s likely what made the winning weight difference for us,” said Murray. “We wanted our non-boaters to know how to fish behind their partners from other states during the tournament.
“All of our guys shared information at the meetings with the non-boaters,” added Murray. “Everyone knew baits and strategies to keep our goal of winning the title in focus.”
North Carolina won a Skeeter ZX190, matching trailer and Yamaha VF150LA outboard motor and accessories. Total value of the rig is $49,835.
There are 17 U.S. states and Ontario are competing in the regional tournament. On Friday, the Top 38 anglers and three highest-ranking boaters and non-boaters from each state compete on Douglas Lake.
The overall winner and qualifiers to bass fishing’s world championship — the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan Outdoors — will be determined at Friday’s weigh in. The top boater and non-boater from each state advances to bass club fishing’s championship competition.
Leading the way for North Carolina's team was Rob Digh from Denver, who bagged 10 fish that weighed 24-03, followed by Mark Robertson of Henderson with 10 keepers for 23-12, Patrick King of Lincolnton with 10 fish for 22-12, Cory Leonard of Castalia with 10 that weighed 20-13, and JT Palmore of Gasburg, Va who boated 9 fish weighing 20-05 to round out the top 5.
Mark Swink of Shelby to 6th place with 10 fish weighing 20-05, Chris Carnes of York, S.C. took 7th with 10 keepers weighing 18-08, and Scott Griffin of Winterville bagged 9 fish that tipped the scales at 17-14. Chuck Murray of Louisburg finished 9th with 10 fish weighing 16-03, and Creedmore's Randy Groves took 10th place with 9 fish that weighed 13-01.