Bradford Beavers may never fish Santee Cooper again.
OK, that’s obviously not true, but after finally getting a signature win on his home lake in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event, presented by Power-Pole, he at least joked about going out on top.
“I can’t even put into words how this feels,” says Beavers, who caught 23 pounds, 7 ounces to give him the win with a two-day total of 54-9 in the shortened format. “There were days I thought about winning growing up, but I didn’t know if it’d ever happen. I’ve never been able to win any local tournaments here. The guys are just so good.
“So to win, it’s big.”
Big is exactly what Beavers did on day one when he brought in the biggest bag of the event, 31-2. That said, his 5-pound lead never felt comfortable, what with how many local sticks were right behind him, all of whom had the ability to crack their own 30-pound stringers.
Of course, they had one last day to do it after day two was canceled due to high winds, which meant the entire field fished today. Still, Beavers figured he needed at least another 20 pounds today to hold off the host of local legends like Lex Costas and Mike Watson.
While he doesn’t have the 50 years of history either of those two do, he still has close to 20, and he put a lot of it to good use throughout the event.
“I mainly focused on fishing cypress trees,” Beavers says. “You fish here long enough, you learn the bass get on the same trees year after year. So it’s just a matter of being persistent and fishing and refishing those same trees.”
With the final wave of spawners cycling through using those cypress trees as prime spawning habitat, Beavers focused the majority of his time hitting trees down in Moultrie – though he usually spent the afternoons fishing up in Marion, as well.
His main weapon was the same as most everybody else: a wacky-rigged, green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko, which he’d skip up under the limbs of the trees to get deep into the shade. A big key was making repeated casts or coming back and refishing the same trees.
“Those fish are there under those trees,” Beavers says. “You can’t see because you have to stay off them, but if you get close you’ll see them. So you just have to fish and fish and fish until one finally decides to bite.”
Turns out, the majority of his fish bit in the morning, as he had most of both his big limits by 9 a.m. each day. He admits he got clued in on a shad-spawn bite early today a bit, which he capitalized on with a white ¼-ounce Eye Strike Texas Eye jig with a Keitech Swing Impact FAT trailer. But after that, it was back to the trees with the wacky rig.
A key move around noon did produce a 5-pounder that helped buoy Beaver’s bag today over the 20-pound mark, but he also had a pair of 2-pounders he couldn’t seem to cull out. That left the door open for someone to catch him.
“I told myself I needed to catch 20 pounds,” Beavers says. “Once I did that, I figured I did all I could. Someone was going to have to beat me.”
This time, no one did.
1. Bradford Beavers – Summerville, S.C. – 54-9 (10) – $86,700
2. Lex Costas – Daniel Island, S.C. – 50-1 (10) – $15,600
3. Mike Watson – Sumter, S.C. – 48-6 (10) – $12,300
4. Joey Sabbagha – Prosperity, S.C. – 46-2 (10) – $10,000
5. Kyle Welcher – Cleveland, Tenn. – 44-0 (10) – $10,500
6. Todd Smith – Bonneau, S.C. – 43-12 (10) – $8,000
7. William Fletcher – Dallas, Ga. – 42-4 (10) – $7,000
8. Brent Riley – Cross, S.C. – 40-13 (10) – $6,000
9. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 40-7 (10) – $5,000
10. Mark Hutson – Moncks Corner, S.C. – 40-3 (10) – $4,000