UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Quick Bites

Quick Bites
William Smith, winner of the angler division, accepts his first-place trophy from EverStart Tournament Director Jerry Stakely.

Notes from from the EverStart Batteries Series tourney held on Lake Santee Cooper, Manning, S.C., March 1-4

Proof it's about more than just catching fish ... William Smith of Moncks Corner, S.C., is the pro division angler who won the March 4 EverStart tournament on his home waters of Lake Santee Cooper, S.C. Did you know?
- He broke the final day weigh-in record with 21 pounds, 3 ounces - this in his first-ever EverStart tournament. The previous record of 19 pounds, 15 ounces was set by Larry Inman of Greensboro, S.C., in 1999.
- Smith borrowed an outboard from a local boat dealer in order to fish the tournament. During the competition his motor broke down - twice. On the first day, a helpful passerby in a pontoon towed him in.
- The 27-year-old family man, whose regular job is in technical maintenance, was perceptively emotional when he accepted the first-place trophy at the final day's weigh-in. Nearly speechless, he said, "I see the B.A.S.S. and the FLW come through here all the time. This time (for the EverStart) I somehow managed to scrounge up $500 and put my name in a hat, and look what happens. It's really unbelievable."

Speaking of records ... Lex Costas, who broke the second-round EverStart weight record at Lake Santee Cooper - and nearly broke the tour single-day record of 30 pounds, 5 ounces - with a 28-pound, 3-ounce stringer, wasn't even trying to hook any more fish when he caught his big'uns. "I had three fish already and then they had moved," he explained. "Actually, I was trying to help my partner. I'd positioned the boat for him and I just happened to put my rod on them." Costas, who lives and guides fishing on Lake Santee Cooper, finished third for the tournament.

Something to carp about ... A pair of broken records aside, anglers and officials have voiced concerns over the state of the bass fishery in Lake Santee Cooper in recent years. According to Townes Walker, chair of the fishing committee for Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce, about four years ago grass carp were introduced to the lake to control hydrilla growth. It was also treated chemically. The result was a significant loss in hydrilla habitat for bass. Santee Cooper, which has historically produced large stringers for tournament anglers, is perpetually becoming less and less productive, according to Walker. He added that unexplainable low water levels also contributed to some anglers' difficulties in the early March EverStart tournament.

Keep your eye on this one ... Hats off to Judy Israel of Clewiston, Fla., (see "It's a family affair," Headlines). The lady angler, originally from the Bronx, N.Y., not only captured her third top-10 EverStart finish in Manning, she led the co-angler field going into the final day. She also has an FLW top 10 under her belt. Says EverStart Tournament Director Jerry Stakely, "She's got to be one of the best female anglers in the business today."

Sound bite of the tournament:
"They take me to the fish, and I just manage to wind `em in."
- Co-angler Division winner Gene Butts, on his pro partners.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  quick-bites  2000-03-01-lake-santee-cooper 

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