Bass Tournament Diaries On Hartwell And Jackson

Stop-by-stop diaries from tournament anglers show great June bass patterns on lakes Hartwell and Jackson.

GON Staff | June 1, 2007

Butch Pitts placed the net just right for this fish to jump right into it. Butch weighed in 17.51 pounds of Hartwell bass, the heaviest sack during a 2007 Skeeter Eliminator Series tournament; it’s the second heaviest bag in Eliminator history.

The great thing about Rounds 4-6 of the Skeeter Eliminator Series is that GON editors ride along for all the tournaments. We take detailed notes and publish each angler’s diary about how they spend their seven hours on the water. The following pages contain diaries from the Round 5 Hartwell and Jackson tournaments.

The Skeeter Eliminator Series is a unique head-to-head fishing tournament that started with 64 boaters. Now, after five rounds of fishing, we’ re down to the final two. Our champion will take home $5,000, and our runner-up collects $2,000.

Store this article away; it should come in real handy next time you have an early summer tournament on either one of these lakes.

Hartwell Bass With Butch Pitts vs. Patrick Brown

This Round 5 match-up took place on Tuesday, June 5. Butch Pitts won the event with 17 1/2 pounds against Patrick Brown, who had two fish that weighed 6.75 pounds. Even though Patrick had produced back-to-back 16-lb. bags in his previous two Eliminator tournaments, Butch was going to be difficult to beat on Hartwell. Butch has gathered so much knowledge from his 40 years of fishing the South Carolina border lake.

Schooling bass on the lower part of the lake is what Butch keyed on, and he used a combination of topwater baits and a Rooster Tail to put together a great limit that weighed 17.51 pounds. The big bag marks the second-heaviest in Eliminator history, second only to David Millsaps’ 20-lb. West Point bag caught in 2006.

Butch’s best fish of the day was a 4.5-lb. largemouth; that fish took over the $500 big-bass pot for Rounds 4-6.

Patrick keyed on schooling fish, too. However, he spent a lot of time hooked up with stripers and hybrids. Patrick had some bad luck, too, losing several good bass throughout his tournament day.

Butch Pitts, Hartwell

Butch Pitts with some of his Hartwell catch.

6:10 a.m.: Butch wins the draw and heads out a minute ahead.

6:13: First stop is a long, main-lake point with a reef marker out from the bank. “We’re probably not going to stay anywhere very long,” Butch says as he makes his first cast with a Bass Assassin fluke. He works it extremely fast along the top of the water, trying to call up a Hartwell largemouth, one of a big school he said has been schooling off this point for the past couple of weeks.

6:15: “They aren’t coming up yet.” Butch tries a Lucky Craft Gunfish 95, and it has a custom color scheme that Butch and Joey Baskins at Suddeth crankbaits have been working on — a dark blue with hot pink accents. He walked the bait quickly.

6:23: Butch changes to a Creek Chub Striper Strike topwater plug. Just as he makes the cast, several bass come up chasing baitfish. He reels in quickly  and casts toward the breaking fish. He gets a hit on the 5-inch plug, but no hook-up. The surface action stops quickly.

6:27: With a wry grin, Butch picks up a spinning outfit with a 1/8-oz. white/red Rooster Tail.

6:28: “There. One just hit it,” Butch says. On his next cast he gets another bite.

6:31: Butch straps down his rods. “We’ll be back here later. Probably more than once,” he says as he cranks the outboard.

6:34: It’s a short run, headed south, and Butch stops at another main-lake point near the mouth of a major tributary. He starts again with the fluke.

6:39: Butch tries another rod with the same fluke tied on, only on lighter line.

6:46: “They aren’t coming up good. They’re usually all over this point,” Butch says.

He switches to the Striper Strike.

6:53: He idles around the backside of a small island.

6:56: Throwing the Striper Strike, he gets a hit on top.

“That acted like a striper,” Butch says.

7:00: Butch picks up the fluke and gets a hit on the first cast.

7:11: He makes another move, heading south down the main lake.

7:18: Butch sets the boat down on a main-lake reef marker over a hump. His first casts are with the Bass Assassin fluke.

7:20: He sees fish busting on top and kicks the trolling motor on high heading toward them.

7:21:On his second cast to the area where the fish had come up, his Striper Strike gets smashed. Butch sets the hook and works a 3-lb. bass to the net. His first keeper is a solid bass, just the type that Hartwell is known to produce this time of year on topwater.

7:24: Butch switches to a fluke, concentrating on the area where the fish had come up and where he caught the bass. It’s right at the end of the hump.

7:26: Butch sees an 8-inch herring laying in the bottom of the boat.

“That’s a big herring he spit out. I’ve got something for them,” he says, digging in the rod box and pulling out two rods, one with a big Pencil Popper topwater plug, and the other with a magnum 7-inch Bass Assassin fluke. He adds a feather treble hook to the wide-gap hook already threaded on the fluke. He starts throwing the big fluke.

7:35: Butch sees a lone fish break, and he makes a long cast with the Striper Strike.

7:41: He goes back to the regular fluke.

7:45: A big striper smashes the fluke on top.

7:48: Butch picks up the spinning rod with the tiny Rooster Tail.

7:50: He switches back to the fluke, and a bass hits on the first cast but doesn’t eat the bait.

“It’s been real tough calling them up so far,” Butch says. “It’s still taking 20 pounds to win a tournament, but I think they’re getting beat up so bad on topwater.”

8:08: Butch goes to a Carolina-rigged lizard, casting to the end of the hump where he caught the bass earlier.

8:16: Back to the fluke.

8:22: “He missed it twice on that cast,” Butch says. “I saw him. He was a good fish.”

8:30: Butch makes a short run to a small island. He makes about 15 casts with the fluke, then tries the Striper Strike.

8:40: Another short run, this time to a main-lake point.

8:50: Butch cranks the outboard and heads back to the main-lake reef marker and hump.

“I’m going to circle around them and get that wave action, sometimes that’ll get them to come up when they’re like this,” he says.

As he starts to put the trolling motor in the water, he see a good-sized school of bass come up, busting baitfish.

“There they are!”

But the bass don’t stay up long. “That was a pretty good school that came up there. They just aren’t wanting to eat up top for some reason.”

8:55: Butch tries the Rooster Tail.

8:57: Back to the fluke.

9:01: Again Butch tries the Rooster Tail, and on his first cast the rod loads up.

“There he is — ah, he came off. May have been a striper. It was big whatever it was.”

9:06: Butch tries the fluke again, and a bass comes up and slaps at it four times on one cast.

9:08: He tries the Rooster Tail again, letting it sink down in the water column and using a slow, steady retrieve. He swings and sets the hook, and this time he connects. It’s a 14-inch bass.

9:12: Butch sets the hook again, and this time his spinning rod doubles over. A 4-lb. bass comes up, tail-walking and jumping several times. Finally, excited and rattled, Butch gets the bass in the net.

“That’ll make you nervous as a cat, those little, tiny hooks,” he says. “I’m still shaking. That one shook me there.”

9:21: Butch connects again with the Rooster Tail. And again, it’s a jumping 4-pounder. As he gets the bass close to the boat and gets ready with the net, the bass launches 2 feet out of the water, landing right in the net.

Butch Pitts with a 4.50-pounder that leads a big-bass pot among the Elite 8 anglers.

9:40: He gets another hit on the Rooster Tail.

10:04: After not seeing a bass breaking on top in more than 50 minutes, Butch decides to move, hoping to find some active topwater bass.

10:08: “We won’t be here long,” Butch says. He stopped at a long, main-lake point that has some submerged timber off the drop. He fishes the Rooster Tail but leaves after about two dozen casts.

10:22: Butch is back to his first stop of the morning. He fishes the fluke for about three minutes, then the Rooster Tail and then the Striper Strike.

“I don’t know where these fish are at. They’ve been coming up all day here for three weeks. No wind doesn’t help, and this cloud cover moving in doesn’t help either. These fish like it bright and windy.”

10:39: Butch makes a short run up a tributary. Throwing the fluke he gets a hit. “He had it,” Butch says.

10:56: He tries the Rooster Tail.

10:58: With no fish busting on top, Butch makes a run to a primary point.

11:02: Throwing the Striper Strike, a fish nails it, and Butch connects. It’s a 2-lb. hybrid.

11:03: On his next cast, again the topwater plug gets smashed. This time it’s a 2-lb. bass that fills an excellent 5-fish limit.

11:05: A bass slashes at the Striper Strike three times. Butch follows up quickly with the Rooster Tail.

11:10: A 5-lb. hybrid nails the Striper Strike.

11:15: Another hybrid, this one about 4 pounds.

11:20: Butch connects again. “He’s green, but he’s little,” he says as swings in a 13-inch Coosa bass.

11:27: Another 13-inch keeper bass, but it won’t cull. After releasing the bass, Butch takes a few minutes to weigh his two smaller bass. The smallest is 1-lb., 15-ozs.

11:35: Butch makes a move. There are fish breaking when he pulls up to the point, but after 10 minutes he doesn’t get bit and moves again.

Between 11:39 and 12:20, Butch tries four locations. His fifth move is back to the point where he caught all the hybrids and several bass.

12:25: The Striper Strike produces a bass that weighs 2-lbs., 14-ozs., allowing Butch to cull and add almost a pound to his already very good catch.

12:26: His next cast produces another bass, but it’s small, below the 12-inch Hartwell length limit.

12:33: Butch makes a short move to the next point. He tries two other spots in the next 25 minutes.

1:00: With 10 minutes to fish, Butch heads back to the point that has produced two keepers and several bass that were throw-backs. He fishes the Striper Strike, Gunfish, then tries the fluke down in the water column. His last cast is with a Carolina-rig.

Patrick Brown, Hartwell

Patrick Brown two fish he caught at the Eliminator event on Hartwell.

6:11: Patrick stops on a main-lake point just above the Crawford Ferry boat ramp. He throws a Jackall Mikey Jr. swimbait.

6:15: Patrick stops up the lake on a pair of humps and throws the Mikey Jr. “Y’all come up and show yourself,” said Patrick.

6:18: He changes to a topwater bait, a Jackall Mud Sucker, that he fishes in a walk-the-dog style. It’s clear with rattles and has a red nose and white feathers on the back.

“If I don’t catch them early, I may be in trouble,” said Patrick.

Patrick moves east and makes a few very quick stops hoping to find some schooling fish.

6:25: He begins to fish a point near Andersonville Island as he spots the first surfacing fish of the morning.

6:53: Patrick moves to an area of submerged timber in the Seneca River, still within sight of Andersonville Island. He throws the Mikey Jr. and the Mud Sucker.

7:03: Patrick works a roadbed as he swims the Mikey Jr. a foot below the surface.

7:09: He changes to a swimbait made by Reaction Strike. It’s not even on the market yet; one of the BASS pros gave it to him at Clarks Hill. A fish pops the tail of the swimbait.

7:14: Patrick moves out and fishes a hump with timber nearby. The area produced two 4-pounders in practice. He changes baits several times and has a giant fish blow up on the Reaction Strike, but it doesn’t connect.

7:23: A Fish Head Spin goes into the water, but a minute later he’s back to the Mud Sucker.

7:41: Patrick heads down the

Seneca and stops on a point at the head of an island and quickly catches a 6-lb. striper on the Mikey Jr.

7:52: A keeper spot follows the Mikey Jr. all the way to the boat.

7:55: A fish bites his Reaction Strike bait, and he changes to a Fish Head Spin.

“I’m fishing too big,” he said.

With the trolling motor, Patrick goes below the point and fishes down the side of the island, which is home to a steep, rocky bank.

8:00: A bass nails the Mikey Jr. and brings Patrick to his knees as he lets the fish wear itself down. The fish comes off; Patrick shows frustration.

“Dang-it,” he said. “That was a big spot. It was really shaking its head.”

8:08: Patrick slings a double-fluke rig along the bank as schooling becomes pretty regular. For the next half hour, Patrick works the rocky bank and the point with the Mud Sucker and both swimbaits and catches one striper and one hybrid.

8:44: Patrick announces that he’s fixing to leave but then sees a large- mouth chasing shad on top. He throws the Mud Sucker, and keeper No. 1 goes in the boat. The fish will go more than 3 pounds.

8:53: Patrick spots a bass on top 50 yards off the point in 8 feet of water. He slings the Mud Sucker, and keeper No. 2 makes it in the livewell. The large- mouth will go better than 3 pounds.

Patrick boats two more hybrids and another striper as linesides and a few bass continue to school on the point and along the island’s rocky bank. Patrick tries to only target “pops” on the surface, which generally indicate bass. Linesides tend to “slosh.”

9:31: For the first time, Patrick throws a Cotton Cordell Crazy Shad topwater plug.

“I’m going to throw something with no rattles,” said Patrick. “Sometimes they want it a little more subtle.”

9:42: Another hybrid eats the Mud Sucker. Patrick leaves and heads down the lake to fish two different humps with the Mud Sucker, looking for aggressive fish to come out of deep water and smash his plug.

“You’re not as likely to see them schooling as you are to just have one come up and eat it,” said Patrick.

10:00: Patrick stops on a main-lake ledge in the Savannah River. He hooks a small fish with the Mikey Jr., but it comes unbuttoned.

10:28: Patrick runs down the Savannah River and fishes a hump in 17 feet of water. A few fish are feeding on top, but they are quick to disappear.

“You have to make a good cast and get right on them,” said Patrick.

10:58: Patrick goes back up the lake, makes one stop and runs back to where he caught the linesides.

11:05: Fish are still schooling on top, but they all appear to be linesides. “I’m fixing to have to throw a rig,” said Patrick. “It’s desperation time.” He throws a Carolina rig with a Zoom Centipede in gourd green.

11:10: “Enough of that,” he says.

He puts up the rig and never makes another cast with it.

11:14: After seeing more schooling action, Patrick catches another hybrid, this one on the Mikey Jr.

11:18: Patrick heads back up the Seneca and stops to briefly fish a hump and then a roadbed near Andersonville Island. At both places, he starts with the Mud Sucker and then switches to the Mikey Jr.

11:38: While fishing the Mud Sucker over timber, just off the roadbed, a fish inhales the bait. The fish goes deep and wraps the bait in the timber, breaking the bait off. Disgusted to lose his only Mud Sucker, Patrick ties on a Lucky Craft Gunfish.

11:43: Patrick motors to another area of timber and throws the Gunfish. “I’m going to run to a bridge in a minute,” he said.

12:02: At a nearby bridge, Patrick fishes the Mikey Jr. and the Gunfish around the bridge pilings.

12:21: Patrick goes back down the lake to fish the island where he caught so many linesides. The schooling activity is gone, and Patrick heads down the lake to fish humps and drops where he fished earlier.

1:05: With six minutes to go, Patrick realizes his two fish probably won’t push him to the championship.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Butch has 15 or 16 pounds,” he said.

Patrick Brown lost his Round 5 Eliminator match-up at Hartwell but collected a $1,000 check.

Round 5: Lake Jackson With Mark Holloway vs. Tim Vanegmond

This Round 5 match-up took place on Tuesday, May 29 at Lake Jackson. Mark Holloway won the event with 14.25 pounds. His competitor, Tim Vanegmond, had a limit that went 6.89 pounds.

This tournament was anyone’s to win. The bite at Jackson had been awful. It had been taking 5 and 6 pounds to win some of Bobby Berry’s pot tournaments.

Mark had never fished Jackson until the Friday before the tournament. After his tournament win at Jackson, he was wondering why — he loved the endless cover of blowdowns and over-hanging branches that lines the South and Yellow rivers above Lake Jackson. And he loved the bass they produced.

Tim had found the same shallow bite up the rivers flipping cover with plastics, but he just didn’t get the one or two good bites that he needed.

Mark Holloway, Jackson

Mark Holloway had a pair of 4-pounders in the bag for his Round 5 Jackson tournament.

6:06: Mark leaves Berry’s a minute ahead of Tim.

6:11: His first stop is at the bridge up the South River. Mark picks up a 3/8-oz. white Booyah buzzbait and casts around a logjam against one of the bridge pilings. He glances back several times, knowing that Tim is likely headed up the river as well.

6:13: Mark heads farther up the river to a small cut that’s about 5 feet deep in the middle. He fishes the buzzbait along flooded grass on one side of the cut and under overhanging limbs on the other side. He’s fishing
fast, moving up into the cut.

6:25: As his buzzbait parallels the flooded grass, it gets sucked under, and Mark sets the hook. Quickly he has a 4- lb. bass in the net.

“That’s a good start! I haven’t been getting many bites, but they’ve all been good ones about that size,” Mark says.

Mark, who grew up in Gwinnett County and has been fishing tournaments for years, had never fished Jackson before practicing for his Eliminator match.

6:29: Shad begin to flicker in the flooded grass. It’s late for the shad spawn, but there are some doing it. Mark tries a spinnerbait.

6:31: Back to the buzzbait.

6:39: He sets the hook and boats a 13-inch keeper.

“There is a little one in this river. I’ ll take ’ em all until I can get five,” he says.

6:48: Mark catches a 12 1/8-inch barely keeper on the buzzbait as it parallels the flooded grass.

“He wanted it like Oconee. At Oconee, if it’s not hugging the wall like that when they’re in those shad, you’re not getting bit,” Mark says.

6:49: Mark misses a fish on the spinnerbait.

“I watched him eat it and jerked too quick. Not good,” he says.

6:58: Mark flips a tangled mess of a blowdown with a Texas-rigged, green-pumpkin Senko.

“I normally don’t flip this, but there were a ton of local people up here last weekend, all flipping jigs and big worms. Thought they might like something different. I caught a 7-pounder on the Senko yesterday. Man I wish I hadn’t caught that fish. I knew better than to flip that blowdown during practice.”

7:15:The spinnerbait produces, but it’s an 11 1/2-inch bass below the 12-inch length limit.

7:49: Mark makes a move, heading back down the river to the same log jam on the bridge piling. He tries the buzzbait, then flips the Texas-rigged Senko. Then he runs the buzzbait along some logs on the bank under the bridge.

7:56: Mark cranks the outboard, and as he heads down the river he pass- es Tim. Mark hits the main lake and turns up the Yellow River.

8:01: Mark stops at a cinder-block seawall.

“Sure wanted to fish this before the sun got on it,” he says, casting the buzzbait.

8:03: Just past the seawall an over- hanging branch hangs into the water, and Mark skips a bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke way up into the branches. He makes two casts, then cranks the outboard.

8:07: He heads up the Yellow River until the lake gives way to the river channel run. Past the Highway 36 bridge, he stops and puts the trolling motor down. He begins fishing the buzzbait under overhanging branches and alongside logs and stumps, heading up the river on the trolling motor.

8:16: A 2-lb. bass inhales the buzzbait.

“I fished daylight to dark Friday and yesterday, and I haven’t caught a fish as small as those last three. But I’ll take 2-pounders right now,” Mark says.

9:00: Mark makes a half-dozen casts with the Super Fluke.

9:10: Another 2-lb. bass eats the buzzbait, and Mark has a limit.

“Not bad, but it still doesn’t get to go in the big side of the livewell,” he says.

9:24: Mark is flipping the Texas-rigged Senko on a log on the deeper, cut bank side of the river, and he sets the hook on another keeper. It’s a 12 1/4-inch bass that barely culls his
smallest bass.

For the next hour and 10 minutes, Mark fishes up the river, staying on the trolling motor while alternating between the buzzbait in shady spots, the spinnerbait and flipping the blowdowns and log-jams. In addition to the Senko, he now starts flipping a home-made jig with a blue Paca Craw trailer and a green-pumpkin Ol Monster worm.

10:37: Mark flips the Ol Monster worm deep into the tangles of a blow- down. He sets the hook and brings a 3 1/2-lb. bass in the boat.

“You fish for 2 miles and don’t get a bite, but when I get one, it’s about like that. I can deal with that as long as one bites every now and then,” Mark says as he culls the 12 1/4-inch bass.

11:04: Mark gets a bite on the Senko but doesn’t connect.

“About snatched the rod out of my hand,” Mark says. “Probably a little one. When it starts just swimming off easy, that’s usually a good one.”

On his next pitch with the Senko, he gets another hit and this time sets the hook. It’s a 2-lb. bass that allows him to cull a 1 1/2-pounder.

“This place is just awesome,” Mark says. “I can’t believe I’ve never  fished here.”

11:14: A fish hits the Ol Monster on the fall, and Mark misses the fish. “He took off with it. Had me all out of whack,” he says.

11:33: The Ol Monster produces another keeper, but it’s a 1 1/2-pounder that won’t cull his smallest bass in the livewell.

12:15: Mark rigs up a Texas- rigged Baby Brush Hog. He cuts off the curly arms and tail. He wants some- thing that he can sink down below the layer of grime deep in the big log-jams. The Ol Monster’s big curly tail kept the worm from dropping through.

“I need something I can get down through these thick mats,” Mark says.

12:34: Mark is flipping a logjam when he sets the hook. He has the fish for a few seconds, but it pulls off.

“That was a pretty good fish.I hope that doesn’t bite me in the rear end. I haven’t lost a fish all day. That sucks. I mean that sucks. That bit like a good one. I never felt a bite. It just came swimming.”

12:38: For the first time since 8:07, Mark cranks the outboard.

“Let’s go catch a big one,” he says before heading up the river about another mile to a big, thick, nasty log-jam where he caught the 7-pounder the day before.

“I know that fish is still in here. Where else would she go?” Mark says.

12:47: As Mark began to make a pitch with the Senko, GON editor Daryl Kirby asked where the big fish had hit the day before. As the worm hit the water, Mark said, “Right there. Literally that exact spot I just cast to.” Then he set the hook. A fat, 14-inch river bass came into the boat.

“In the exact same place that 7-pounder was. When she hit, I about had a heart attack,” Mark said.

Tim Vanegmond, Jackson

Tim Vanemond lost his Round 5 Eliminator match-up at Jackson but still earned a $1,000 check.

6:07: Tim’s plan for the first hour is to run four main-lake points; all have seawalls on them, and they are all at the mouths of big pockets.

6:08: Tim’s first stop of the morning is the western shore about a mile below Berry’s. He starts with a bone- colored Sammy.

6:12: A fish swirls and misses. He throws a blue/white Super Fluke where the fish missed the bait.

6:16: A fish nips at the Sammy three times but never touches a hook.

6:17: Tim throws a white Terminator buzzbait.

6:20: He chunks a bone-colored Super Spook. His only modification to this bait is to change out the hooks to No. 2 Gamakatsu EWGs.

6:23: Tim runs across the lake to fish a seawall at the mouth of a large creek. Some shad are spawning along a seawall next to a dock. He chunks a Sammy.

6:26: A good spot blows up three times on the bait but doesn’t eat it.

6:27: With a buzzbait he connects on keeper No. 1, a 15-inch spot.

6:37: Tim is at his third point, which is along the western shore about 300 yards below the powerline. He uses the Sammy and quickly goes around the point and works into the pocket. He skips the Super Fluke around a dock just inside the mouth and then throws the Sammy around some stumps.

6:45: He throws down a seawall and has a big fish blow up on the Sammy, but it never touches a hook.

6:48: Trying to get the fish to bite again, he works a Pop-R, popping it quickly and letting it pause for 10 seconds where the fish blew up.

“That hurt my feelings; he was big,” said Tim.

6:50: With the trolling motor on high, he goes across a pocket to fish his fourth point.

6:58: Tim decides to re-fish all four points again. The first seawall produces a 12 1/2-inch spot on a Sammy. Keeper No. 2 goes in the livewell. His next three stops are unproductive.

7:31: Tim fishes a logjam below the Hwy 36 bridge in South River. He throws a 3/8-oz. jig made by Performance Custom Baits that is peanut butter and jelly in color. It’s dressed with a black twin-tail grub.

7:48: He fishes his way up the left bank toward the bridge. Tim rotates between a jig and buzzbait.

7:57: Tim idles north to fish blow- downs just below the Hwy 36.

8:11: When Tim gets to the bridge he throws a buzzbait in a shady area before going to the middle bridge piling and fishing an isolated area of brush with a jig.

8:16: Tim heads north on the trolling motor, chunking the buzzbait along the eastern, shady bank.

8:37: Tim goes north and fishes shady blowdowns with a buzzbait and a Super Spook.

8:47: Tim tries a Texas-rigged Culprit red-shad colored worm but quickly goes back to the jig. He crosses the river to the eastern bank and fishes south.

8:55: Tim misses a fish while swimming a jig over a stump.

“That was a 3-pounder,” said Tim. “I saw him open his mouth and eat it, he just wasn’t there.”

For the next few minutes Tim throws the worm, Pop-R and Senko trying to get the fish to bite again.

9:00: Tim fishes south but comes back to the stump; a 10-inch fish eats a Trick Worm.

“The bigger one was with it; it swam out like a spot does,” said Tim.

9:26: Tim starts up the Yellow River and goes into the first pocket on the right. It’s loaded with docks, blowdowns and brushpiles.

9:50: After mostly throwing a jig, he tries a black Trick Worm and gets bit on a shallow stump, but he misses.

10:15: His first cast with a Culprit worm is answered by keeper No. 3, a 12 1/2-inch largemouth. The fish was just off a shady bank.

10:34: Tim tries a Baby Paca Craw. The junebug-colored bait is fished on a 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook.

10:38: Fishing a blowdown, he misses a fish.

10:50: Tim catches a 6-inch fish.

11:16: Tim is back in the Alcovy, fishing the hump at the powerline with a football-shaped jig head. The brown/black bait is dressed with a Zoom twin-tail grub in pumpkin. The trashy hump tops out at 11 feet on the western lip of the river channel.

11:28: Tim makes a run up the lake and fishes a series of brushpiles along some docks. The depth ranges from 8 to 15 feet. He’s fishing a Zoom Mag II worm, but he’s biting about an inch off the head of the worm.

“The worm is too big; I’m just trying to get a limit now… I’m down to trying to get a limit,” said Tim.

11:42: Tim ties on a Reaction Innovations Screwed Up jig head with a green-pumpkin Trick Worm.

12:06: Fishing his last brushpile, keeper No. 4 jumps all over the Trick Worm and makes it in the boat.

12:13: Tim runs up the Alcovy above Water’s Bridge and fishes a dock along the edge of a channel bend. The edge drops from eight to 20 feet and is covered with brush that has been washed in with current. He starts with the Terminator jig but after no bites changes to the Screwed Up jig head.

12:40: Fishing the jig head downstream from the channel bend, Tim connects on keeper No. 5, a nice spot.

“Win or lose, it feels good to have five,” said Tim.

Bobby Berry, who runs Berry’s tournament trail, handles the Eliminator weigh-in at Jackson.

This year’s Skeeter Eliminator Series has been better than we could have ever expected. Thanks to all the anglers who helped support us in this 64-boater tournament. Our last tournament should be a barnburner. We’re certain Mark Holloway and Butch Pitts will bring us an exciting finale. Look for championship results in November. Each angler’s Lake Oconee fishing diary will be in the December issue.

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