UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Hutson on top at Santee Cooper

Hutson on top at Santee Cooper
Pro leader Mark Hutson caught his two biggest fish in the first 10 minutes of day two.

SUMMERTON, S.C. - When day two started with a double dose of good fortune, he figured he was on track for a smooth ascension up the EverStart Series Southeast Division leaderboard on Santee Cooper Lakes. Well, ascend he did, but nix the "easy" part.

"I caught my two biggest fish in the first 10 minutes almost back-to-back," said the Moncks Corner, S.C. angler. "Then I struggled for a while and had to go look for bed fish. I only caught one bed fish. I caught the male and the female wouldn't bite. I went back to my primary pattern and ended up catching another good one."

Hutson caught his fish on a plumb colored Zoom Old Monster worm rigged with a 3/8-ounce weight. Mark Hutson caught most of his fish on a Zoom Old Monster worm.With the exception of the bed fish, he found his bass around stumps with grassy perimeters.

Returning to the same spot he fished yesterday was an easy decision for Hutson. Apparently, this area's positioning puts it right on the migration path for spawning bass.

"I think my spot just keeps reloading," Hutson said. "The phase that they're in right now, if they're not bedding around what I'm fishing, then they're coming to that area to recuperate from the spawn. They just come there to eat bream and just sit around that grass."

Hutson worked the Old Monster through the grass with short hops and found that the bass were biting aggressively. "Sometimes, when I would throw out there, when I'd pick up on the worm, they're on it. They must have grabbed it on the fall. Then sometimes when I was pulling it through the grass, they'd hit it right on the edge of that grass."

The slow presentation of a sizeable target, Hutson said, appeals to the postspawn fish he was targeting. "The big females are just trying to fatten up after the spawn. They just look for the biggest thing that comes by. I just had the color that they liked."

Holley surges to second

Climbing 26 spots to second place, Currey Holley caught the heaviest sack of the tournament.At the start of day two, Currey Holley found himself in 28th place. After the day-two weigh-ins concluded, the Pulaski, Tenn. angler had raced up the standings to second place with 42-1. He accomplished this big move by bagging the heaviest sack of the tournament - a limit catch of 28-10.

"I had eight bites all day long," Holley said. "I culled three times and lost one fish. It was really slow. I just got the right bites."

Holley did his damage on a spot he had located in practice. The short fog delay of day one minimized the time he spent on that spot, but today, he went right to it and the decision paid off with a quick flurry of activity.

"It started out slow (yesterday) so I didn't stay with it very long," Holley said. "I went back to it and ended up catching four. This morning, I got there a little earlier and got my early bite. That started me out with four fish. I had five solid fish by 9:30 and I culled (the smallest) fish at one and then I left."

Holley said he caught his fish on a green pumpkin jig in an area with a mixture of grass and trees. The presence of baitfish was a key factor for the spot's attraction.

"If you could find bait flipping, that's where they were," he said. "There's a lot of shad up on the grass and the fish were busting pretty good. We couldn't catch them when they were busting, but when they quit busting, that's when we caught them."

Bait presentation was essential for Holley. "Slow and precise casts was the main thing. And subtle - if you made a splash, you would not get bit. You had to lay it in there and just let it fall. That's when they would thump it."

Ware winds up third

Kent Ware, of Wadmalaw Island, S.C. held steady at the number-three spot by adding 18-4 to his 21-When third-place pro Kent Ware found that he could not get bit on the moving baits he used on day one, he went with a slow plastic presentation.12 of day one and tallying a 40-pound total.

On day one, Ware used reaction baits to locate the fish and then he'd slow down and catch them with plastics. Today, his fish weren't in the chasing mood, so he stuck with the slow presentations all day. The cloudy conditions of days one and two factored into Ware's presentations.

"These fish are funny here in that whenever we get cloud cover, they'll go up in the cover," he said. "Or, if they're on cypress trees, they'll be under the limbs that are hanging over the water, rather than the bare side - the side that's easy to cast to. So, if you could get close enough to make the cast without spooking them, then that was the big key."

Ware fished Texas-rigged worms - some weighted, some weightless. The latter was his preference, but he had to go with the weighted version in windy conditions.

Riley slips to fourth

Day-one leader Brent Riley slipped three spots to fourth.Day-one leader Brent Riley, of Ridgeville, S.C. had a slower second round. After topping the field with 26-4 yesterday, he managed just 12-9 today and slipped three spots with 38-13.

"I've only been getting a few bites each day, but I missed to fish today and lost a good one," Riley said. "I might have burned down my spot. I ran all over the lake and ended up catching two fish off the beds this afternoon just to try and get a limit."

He ended up catching his fish on a Zoom Brush Hog in the green pumpkin magic color. Fishing slowly with a light weight was key. He also threw a spinnerbait and swimbait today.

Ellis rises to fifth

Ken Ellis, of Bowman, S.C., earned his final-round berth by improving upon his eighth-place Wacky and Texas-rigged worms helped Ken Ellis improve to fifth place.performance of day one with a three-spot move to fifth. Today, Ellis caught 18-5 and carries a total of 36-5 into day three.

Ellis spent most of day two fishing docks in Lake Moultrie. He caught his fish on a Texas-rigged Senko and a wacky-rigged Zoom Trick Worm.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Santee Cooper event:

6th: Jason Smith, of Albany, Ga., 36-4
7th: Lex Costas, of Daniel Island, S.C., 35-9
8th: Keith Pace, of Monticello, Ark., 35-8
9th: JT Kenney, of Palm Bay, FL 35-4
10th: Troy Gibson, of Eufaula, Ala., 32-6

Lionel Botha earned Snickers Big Bass honors in the pro division with a 7-11.Lionel Botha, of Port St. Lucie, Fla. won Snickers Big Bass Honors with a 7-pound, 11-ounce bass.

Sward goes up top for co-angler lead

Justin Sward, of Birmingham, Ala. moved up four spots to take over the co-angler lead on day two with 23-15. Facing similar fishing scenarios two days in a row allowed him to fish with comfort and confidence.

"I fished shallow both days with my partners - actually the same area - so I felt good about it today," Sward said. "Yesterday I only had four bites and I caught all of them on a frog. Today, I had six keeper bites and caught all of them."

Sward caught two of his fish on a Strike King KVD black frog early and followed with another four on a bone colored Super Spook Jr.

"I know a lot of people are dragging plastics, but I can't get bit that way," he said. "I'm fishing topwater, reaction type baits. I'm not getting a whole lot of bites; I'm just hoping I catch them when I do get a bite."

Cal Clark, of Pulaski, Tenn. took second place with 22-6, Albert Pieper, of Summerville, S.C. was third with 21-14, while Joe Ventrello, of Orlando, Fla. remained in fourth with 18-6. Jeffrey Ware, of Rixeyville, Va. was fifth with 17-13.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Santee Cooper event:This 8-pound, 1-ounce largemouth delivered Snickers Big Bass honors to co-angler Todd Gambrell.

6th: Ray Winans, of Manning, S.C., 17-11
7th: David Alfonso, of Valrico, Fla., 17-9
8th: Brent Chitty, of Moultrie, Ga., 17-0
9th: Don Ross, of Lizella, Ga., 16-13
10th: Wayne Frierson, of Manning, S.C., 16-8

Todd Gambrell, of Duncan, S.C. earned Snickers Big Bass honors with an 8-pound, 1-ounce fish.

Day three of EverStart Series Southeast Division action on Santee Cooper lakes continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. (Central) at the John C. Land III Landing located at County Road 514-260 (Greenall Road) in Summerton, S.C.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2012-04-19-santee-cooper 

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