Heath Pack of Ellijay, Georgia, weighed five bass totaling 18 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to take top honors at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Hartwell. For his limit, Pack earned $4,686.
“In the morning I focused on whatever was left of the shad spawn on the Tugaloo River,” says Pack, who earned his first career-victory in BFL competition. “I targeted creeks with boat docks and submerged grass. I had three primary areas, but two creeks really produced for me.”
Pack said he rotated between two baits to catch his fish – a Z-Man ChatterBait with a 3.8-inch Sight Flash-colored Keitech Swing Impact Swimbait, and a Chartreuse Shad-colored 5/8-ounce Lucky Craft SKT Spinnerbait.
“I keyed in on boat dock floats and grass edges,” says Pack. “The grassline was about a foot and a half under the water, and the fish were along the edges as the shad were trying to spawn in it. The shad were also spawning along the black floats on the docks. If I put the lure a foot or two off of either the grassline or the floats, I couldn’t catch them. I had to be precise with my casts.”
After 1 p.m., Pack said he made his way to some brush where he was able to wrangle his largest fish of the day – a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass.
“The brush was between some docks and I caught it on a ½-ounce (Strike King) Hack Attack Jig with a black and blue trailer,” says Pack. “My Kistler Magnesium 2 Rod was definitely a key as well. It had the sensitivity to feel the bite but a strong enough backbone to swing it up and into the boat.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Heath Pack, Ellijay, Ga., five bass, 18-10, $4,686
2nd: David Williams, Maiden, N.C., five bass, 16-12, $2,543
3rd: Scott Chatham, Kingston, Ga., four bass, 16-2, $2,352
4th: Jason Burroughs, Hodges, S.C., five bass, 15-15, $1,093
5th: Christopher Chavis, Rincon, Ga., five bass, 15-13, $937
6th: Darren Ashley, Calhoun Falls, S.C., five bass, 15-12, $859
7th: Shane Lineberger , Lincolnton, N.C., five bass, 15-5, $781
8th: Matthew Justice, Fair Play, S.C., five bass, 14-0, $703
9th: Jimmy Gooch, Jefferson, Ga., five bass, 13-13, $625
10th: Scott Browning, Franklin, N.C., five bass, 13-9, $547
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Chatham caught a bass weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $690.
Tim Watson of Martin, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $2,343 Saturday after weighing a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 12 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Tim Watson, Martin, Ga., five bass, 13-12, $2,343
2nd: Andrew Bridges, Spartanburg, S.C., five bass, 12-8, $1,372
3rd: Tony Holbrooks, Franklin, N.C., five bass, 11-13, $781
4th: Neal Shade, Greenville, S.C., five bass, 11-10, $547
5th: Cody Coker, Comer, Ga., five bass, 11-8, $814
6th: Donnie Davis, Greer, S.C., five bass, 11-0, $480
7th: Scott Roberts, Asheville, N.C., five bass, 10-15, $391
8th: Brent Thomas, Cleveland, Ga., five bass, 10-0, $331
8th: Dillon Self, Dahlonega, Ga., five bass, 10-0, $331
10th: James Akins, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 9-15, $273
Coker collected the biggest bass among Co-angler Division anglers, a fish weighing 4 pounds, 1 ounce. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $345.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 19-21 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.