Tournament Reports – August 2018

Minor League Fishing trial fishes Sinclair; ABA-AFT Division 72 on Oconee and Sinclair.

Karl Pingry | August 9, 2018


If you have enjoyed fishing traditional bass tournaments, how about a different format where you can weigh every keeper fish you catch and also know the weight of your opponents’ catch every hour of the tournament? That was the format in the “Minor League Fishing” tournament held June 30 at Lake Sinclair by Tony Couch. The tournament format was based on the popular TV bass tournament series Major League Fishing.

Twenty-one teams launched just before 6 a.m. from Little River Park and had 15 minutes to run the lake and look for mayfly hatches, schooling fish or just pull up to their first location of the day. At 6:15, the anglers were allowed to make their first casts of the day.

The format was simple: a team could weigh up to seven keeper, 12-inch or longer bass each time they came to the scales. And a team could weigh fish throughout the day. There was no limit to the number of keeper bass that a team could weigh. The official scales were open the entire tournament.

Tony Couch sent a group text every hour that reported everyone’s current weight. This element added pressure to the competition, but  it also helped anglers know where they stood in the field and what adjustments they needed to possibly make on the fly.

First place went to Matt Henry and Justin Kimmel with 22 fish weighing 26 pounds. They were on schooling fish for several hours in the morning and were the only team to weigh in three times before noon. Justin and Matt used the scoring update system to confirm they were using a strategy that might win.

Justin Kimmel (left) and Matt Henry won the Minor League Fishing tournament on Lake Sinclair. They had 22 fish that weighed 26 pounds. The team has been on a roll this season. The above picture is from the Feb. 3 Sinclair Berry’s tournament, which they won with 22.34 pounds.

“There were some really good Sinclair fisherman in this tournament, and it really helped to know how the other teams were doing,” said Justin. “Knowing they were not catching a lot of big fish confirmed we were okay continuing our strategy of fishing for schooling fish.”

There was a great enthusiasm for the new tournament format.

“Knowing the weights the teams were weighing in kept the pressure on all day. I would love to fish another one with this format,” said tournament angler Benjie Cleary.

Tony Couch is hoping to schedule another Minor League Fishing tournament in either September or early October. Look in next month’s Cast For Cash for that date.



Tommy and Nicki Piland won the July 14 Committed Christian Outdoors crappie tournament on Lake Sinclair with 6-15 that included Big Fish (15-oz.)


Carl Hayes won the ABA-AFT Division 72 tournament June 23-24 at Oconee and Sinclair. Carl also had Sinclair Big Fish, a 5.47-pounder.


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