Eliminator Anglers Face Tough Fishing During Round 3 At Oconee

Five of the final eight boaters zeroed in round 3; Ronald Smith takes non-boater title.

GON Staff | March 5, 2010

Non-boater champ Ronald Smith (right) receives a Lowrance HDS 5 as part of his championship pay-out that also included a $1,000 check. Presenting the Lowrance unit is Tony Berry. The crew from Berry’s Tournament Trail conducted the weigh-ins during the Eliminator Series events at Sinclair and Oconee.

When a few warm days finally hit, the fishing at Oconee should bust loose. But as of the Round 3 Lowrance Eliminator Series event on March 5, it had not happened. As it turned out, the eight boaters competing at Oconee for a coveted final-four spot only need to catch a single keeper bass to advance — and five of Georgia’s top tournament anglers zeroed.

The top weight among the eight boaters was brought in by past champion Aaron Batson, whose 6.40-lb. lunker topped the 3.82-lb. weight of the single bass caught by Jay Carter in their heads-up match. But as it turned out, Carter wasn’t eliminated. A new rule designed to get rid of coin flips to decide who advances if two competing anglers both zero came into play. That rule states the angler with the highest losing weight moves into a bracket where two competing anglers both zero, and Carter took over a spot in the Final Four. Also advancing was James Kilby, who caught two bass weighed 4.62 pounds. The final bracket spot up for grabs was between Brian Jamison and David Sansbury. They both zeroed, and with no other losing anglers catching a keeper, this spot was decided by a coin flip, which Sansbury won.

The 2008 Eliminator Series champ, Aaron Batson, advanced to another Final Four with a heads-up win during Round 3 at Oconee on March 5. Aaron caught one bass, and it was a good one. This 6.40-lb. bass earned him big fish honors for Round 3 and was worth $150. Aaron also won $110 for big fish in Round 1.

The Final Four match-ups are next and will pit Jay Carter against James Kilby on Clarks Hill in April, and Aaron Batson will fish against David Sansbury on Lake Jackson in May. The championship between the final two anglers will be on Lake Hartwell in June.

Decided on March 5 at Lake Oconee was the 2010 Lowrance Eliminator Series non-boater championship. Ronald Smith came to the scales with a solid 8.78-lb. catch despite the brutal conditions, and he walked away with the championship title, a $1,000 check and a Lowrance HDS 5. Ronald also won big-fish honors in Round 3 for a 5.31-lb. bass, worth an additional $200.

All eight non-boaters who advanced to the Round 3 event at Oconee were guaranteed a spot in the money. Second place and $800 went to last year’s non-boater champion Jim Lee, third place and $400 went to Steve Holt and fourth place and $300 went to Tom Healan. The other four non-boaters all zeroed, and they split the remaining prize money, each receiving checks for $193.75.

Ronald Smith is the 2010 Lowrance Eliminator Series non-boater champion. Ronald caught two bass during the final non-boater event at Lake Oconee on March 5, including this 5.31-lb. bass that earned him an additional Big Fish check.

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