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Texas Angler Wins Old Hickory Charity Event

Texas Angler Wins Old Hickory Charity Event
Th3 Legends (photo by Jeff Hawkins, courtesy of TJ Martell Foundation)

“Beginner’s luck” might not be an apt description of Clifford McCarty’s victory on Old Hickory Lake Saturday in the first annual 3Legends Cast for a Cure Bass Tournament, but it was the first time he fished a tournament in Tennessee, and the first time he fished Old Hickory.

Clifford McCarty's winning bass weighed an even 5 pounds.

Otherwise, credit McCarty’s experienced skill as a bass fisherman who grew up fishing Sam Rayburn Reservoir for his win in the event, which drew 91 boats. A series of weigh-ins was held during the day, and registered anglers could decide if and when they wanted to bring in their single heaviest fish. McCarty, of Longview, Texas, cut to the chase quickly and brought in his winning 5-pound bass at about 9:30 a.m., or an hour and a half after the competition began. Though Old Hickory was shrouded in a light fog for much of the morning, it wasn’t thick enough to postpone the start.

McCarty was presented with a check for $4,000 at the awards ceremony, and promptly donated it back to the T.J. Martell Foundation, which organized the event as a fund-raiser for cancer research. According to Tinti Moffat, executive director of the group’s Southern Region, the tournament raised several thousand dollars for the charity cause, including money that was raised by a bevy of Nashville country music stars that were involved. More cash was raised through an auction whose highest bidders got to fish with the 3Legends: Bill Dance, Roland Martin and Jimmy Houston.

Clifford McCarty

“I found a drain that connected the river drop-off to a creek, and that’s where I caught all my fish,” notes McCarty, who found out about the tournament through a co-worker stationed in Nashville. “There wasn’t anything fancy about it. I just fished a Strike King Rattlin’ Pro jig [blue black] with a blue flake [Gene Larew] Biffle Bug trailer and hopped it along the lip of the drain in 14 to 16 feet of water.”

Brian Mastne of Old Hickory, Tenn., placed second in the event with a bass that weighed 4.90 pounds and won $2,000, while Shawn Besharse of Lebanon, Tenn., was third with 4.60 pounds and collected $1,000. Boone Simmons of Lebanon collected $500 for his fourth-place showing of 4.10 pounds.

Like McCarty, Mastne caught his fish early. It nailed a Savage Gear frog (shad) fished over grass and was one of only two bites he got all morning. Besharse, who recently moved to Tennessee from Bossier City, La., boated his fish on a Strike King Red Eye Shad (shad) lipless crankbait fished along bridge riprap. Simmons stroked a V&M Cliff Pace jig (green pumpkin) and matching Strike King Rage Craw trailer, fishing it with a sideways motion along a main-lake ledge.

In the Youth Division, 13-year-old Dylan Nutt of the Backwoods Bassin’ team of Nashville weighed a 1.40-pound bass that was worth $100 in cash and several product prizes. He boated it on a topwater lure, but declined to name the winning bait.

Volunteers from Team Nashville Bassmasters, an affiliate of The Bass Federation, organized and conducted the periodic weigh-ins throughout the day. Several hundred fans attended the event, which is tentatively planned for 2018.

Bill Dance was proud to have his photo made with the semi-pro Backwoods Bassin' team from Nashville. Left to right at Carter Nutt, Dance, Nathan Reynolds, Dylan Nutt and FLW pro Kevin Meeks of Smyrna, Tenn.

About the T.J. Martell Foundation: The T.J. Martell Foundation is the music industry’s leading foundation that funds innovative medical research focused on finding treatments and cures for cancer. The Foundation was founded in 1975 by music industry executive Tony Martell and his colleagues in loving memory of Martell’s son, T.J., who died of leukemia when he was 19 years old. The Foundation has provided more than $280 million for research at seven flagship hospitals in the United States. For more information regarding the T.J. Martell Foundation, visit tjmartel.org.

Th3 Legends with Chris Young and Brothers Osborne (photo by Jeff Hawkins, courtesy of TJ Martell Foundation)

Th3 Legends with Chris Young and Brothers Osborne (photo by Jeff Hawkins, courtesy of TJ Martell Foundation)

 

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