UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Santee Cooper showdown

Santee Cooper showdown
Final takeoff commences.

MANNING, S.C. - The top-10 pros and co-anglers embarked from John C. Land marina shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday morning against the backdrop of a beautiful sunrise, relatively warm temperatures and the electricity that comes with fishing in the finals of premier EverStart Series event.

While the anglers were undoubtedly battling nerves, they at least got a respite from the brutally cold weather that had been plaguing tournament action all week. Temperatures were nearly a full 20 degrees warmer than yesterday's takeoff, which should not only help the bass bite, but also serve to lift the spirits of the anglers as well.

A tournament official watches as the last boater departs the marina. Although the wind could be a factor today - forecasts called for 13 to 17 mph gusts throughout the day - anglers clearly have more important things on their mind as they battle for the all-important tournament title on Santee Cooper. With huge payouts at stake and valuable year-end standings' points on the line, finalists undoubtedly will be focused.

Per tournament rules, the winning pro is set to earn an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger 519 VX boat equipped with Garmin electronics, a Minn Kota trolling motor, EverStart batteries and $10,000 cash. If various contingency awards are met, the top pro can take home up to $65,500 in cash and prizes. In addition, the first-place winner in the Co-angler Division is scheduled to earn at least $5,000 and up to $35,000 in cash and prizes if certain incentives are met.

Currently, Mark Mauldin of Cleveland, Tenn., is in the lead in the Pro Division with a semifinal catch of 15 pounds, 6 ounces. Meanwhile, Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., has the overall lead in the Co-angler Division after netting an 8-pound, 11-ounce stringer in yesterday's competition.

The tournament title in each division will go to the angler who records the most weight over the final two days (Friday and Saturday) of competition.

Action resumes at today's final weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, located at 481 West Boyce Street in Manning, S.C.

Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 6:44 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 45 degrees
Expected high temperature: 68 degrees
Water temperature: 46-48 degrees
Wind: From the southwest 13 mph
Humidity: 58 percent
Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2005-03-02-santee-cooper 

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