Batson vs. Harris For 2009 Skeeter Eliminator Championship

Coming to Lake Oconee in November...The $10,000 Showdown at Sugar Creek.

Brad Gill | June 20, 2008

Aaron Batson is hiding nothing; at Clarks Hill he used a secret technique his grandfather showed him. Read his diary to find out what he did.

Skeeter-boat owners Aaron Batson and Mike Harris will be fishing for $10,000 at the Skeeter Eliminator Series Championship at Lake Oconee in November. Both anglers won their semi-final matches in June and advanced to the championship round in the Eliminator, a six-round, heads-up bass tournament.

The grand prize in the tournament is $5,000; however, Skeeter is kicking in an additional $5,000 if the winner is a registered Skeeter owner and fishes from that boat in the championship. Since both anglers will be in their Skeeter bass boats, it’ll be a $10,000 payday for one of them. Second place will get $2,000.

At the championship, both anglers will be chasing the Rounds 4-6 Big Fish Pot worth $500, which is currently being led by Mike Harris. He caught a 3.90-lb. Hartwell bass in Round 4.

Aaron’s Round 5 match took place on June 5 at Clarks Hill against Shawn Malcom. Temperatures soared near 100 degrees, but Aaron was able to put 15 keepers in the boat. His best five weighed 11.48 pounds.

Aaron Batson put 15 keepers in the boat, giving him an 11.48-lb. limit. He’s hoping for a shallow bite at the November championship.

“I am very proud to be fishing in the final round against my very good friend,” said Aaron. “Mike and I have talked since the very start — how cool it would be if we both made it to fish against each other in the championship round. I will be happy for either of us to win.”

Yes, Aaron and Mike are great friends, but Aaron will be swinging for the fences at Oconee.

“The patterns will depend on how fast winter rolls around,” said Aaron. “If we are still in a fall, warmer pattern, there will be some shallow fish. I would love to find them shallow. But if we are already having those steady 30- to 40-degree nights, expect me to head straight to deep holes and fish much slower.”

Mike Harris beat out David Lowery at Lanier on June 13 to advance to the championship match. Mike struggled early due to cloud cover, but when the sun poked out, he was able to call up some big spotted bass. He weighed in 13.82 pounds.

Mike Harris found a topwater bite and caught 13.82 pounds to move past David Lowery at Lanier. He called up two 3-plus-pound spots that helped seal the deal.

“I couldn’t have made it to the 2008 Eliminator Championship through these grueling matches without a lot of help from some good friends,” said Mike. “Butch Pitts, last year’s Eliminator Champion, really helped me out at Hartwell. Rick Steckelberg and Sworming Hornet Lures really helped me at Lanier and provided me with some baits and custom paint jobs that led to my win there. His Fish Head Spin is one of the most versatile baits I have ever thrown. James Wiley practiced with me several days at Lanier and really helped my confidence. Ryan Coleman spent time with me on the water and turned me on to the Vixen topwater bait and the jig. The spots don’t just eat it; they explode on it!

“Finally, I couldn’t have fished Lanier in my Skeeter without the help of good friend Jeff Maher and Athens Marine. When I went to Lanier prior to the tournament, my Yamaha HPDI was overheating and didn’t have any water pressure. Jeff and the good folks at Athens Marine repaired it quickly, which allowed me to focus on the fish and not my boat. It ran great during the tournament.”

Like Aaron, Mike looks forward to the friendly championship at Oconee.

“It’s very exciting to know that Aaron or I will be going home with $10,000 since we both run Skeeters,” said Mike. “November can produce some big bags at Oconee on jigs and spinnerbaits. Aaron excels with a jig, and I prefer a spinnerbait, so it should be interesting. It will all depend on the weather.”

Mike Harris says the November championship at Oconee should produce big bags. Here, he nets a 3 1/2-pounder at his Lanier tournament against David Lowery.

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