Anglers take to the water Saturday at GHSA Bass Fishing State Championship

The waters of Clarks Hill Lake — the state’s largest reservoir – is the stage where boats of anglers competing for the fourth-ever GHSA Bass Fishing state championship will trek upon Saturday.

The fifth and final tournament of the season will see 127 boats take to the waters of Clarks Hill Lake for the third-consecutive year. The lake, just up the Savannah River from Augusta, is over 15,000 acres bigger than the next biggest lake in the state.

The 71,100-acre lake is extremely diverse in its geography, from large flats that are like many South Georgia lakes such as Lake Seminole, to deep rocky ravines and ridges in the north of the lake that are similar to many piedmont and mountain lakes such as Lake Hartwell, West Point, and Oconee. The tournament will be based out of Wildwood Park Ramp in the far south of the lake, not far from the lake’s dam. The tournament will blast off from Wildwood Park at 6:30 a.m. in the morning. Anglers will then have eight-and-a-half hours to fish and get back to the launching ramp for weigh-ins at 3:00 p.m. back at Wildwood Park Ramp.

The qualifying rounds for the tournament happened at four different lakes spread throughout nearly every corner of the state. The first tournament at Lake Seminole in far South Georgia on the Alabama and Florida state lines saw Hayden Reynolds and Caleb Logue from Bainbridge winning with a weight of 19 pounds, 10 ounces, the most of any bag weighed in the qualifying tournaments. Along with them, 29 other boats from 22 different schools qualified for the state championship tournament.

The second tournament at Lake Oconee, the smallest lake of the season, was a much tougher tournament. The cold weather of mid-February and the shallow waters of the lake caused the winning weight to be much lower at 13 pounds, 10 ounces, won by Churchill Harris and Campbell Patterson from Oconee County. The tournament saw 32 other boats make the tournament from 24 different schools and punched their tickets to the state finals.

The next tournament was held at West Point Lake in west Georgia, which saw Rayne Melton and Cohen Blaschke from Trion dominate the tournament, weighing in a five-fish bag weighing 19 pounds, five ounces, the second-largest bag of the season, clearing the second-place bag by nearly seven pounds. West Point saw 34 other boats from 29 different schools qualify for the final tournament of the year.

The final tournament of the year at Lake Hartwell saw the most competitive tournament of the year at the lake that may be the most like Clarks Hill. The top four boats finished within a pound of each other, with the top two finishing within two ounces of each other. South Forsyth’s Reese Mutter and Charles Roberts weighed in a bag weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces, edging out Greenbrier’s Braden Rustan and Evan Beard, who finished with a bag weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces. Along with them, 28 other boats from 22 different schools made the state championship tournament at the last qualifying tournament of the year.


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