Phillips wins bass tourney on Lake Wateree

Phillips wins bass tourney on Lake Wateree
Phillips wins bass tourney on Lake Wateree

Steve Phillips used his local knowledge to win the Toyota Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, South Carolina Division 9 regular season finale, held June 15, 2013, on Lake Wateree.

Running out of Clearwater Cove Marina near Camden, S.C. to fish the 13,700-acre lake, the Lugoff, S.C., angler caught five bass weighing 20.82 pounds for a 4.16-pound average. For the Boater Division victory, Phillips took home a check for $1,656.

“I’ve been fishing this lake for more than 30 years,” Phillips explained. “I threw a Carolina rig and a DD-22 crankbait all day around ledges and points. I tipped the Carolina rig with a lizard or a trick worm.”

In second for the boaters, Ronnie L. McCoy of Lamar, S.C., landed a five-bass tournament limit going 19.12 pounds. He collected $828 for the effort.

“I fished the upper part of the lake,” McCoy revealed. “Early in the morning, I caught fish on a double-bladed buzzbait. I culled out most of those later by throwing a Buckeye Mop jig.”

Phillip Anderson of Saluda, S.C., took third among the boaters with five bass and 18.83 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 5.61-pound kicker. He returned home with $552 in his pocket.

“I fished the middle part of the lake and caught most of my fish by flipping a big worm,” Anderson said. “I also caught some on a buzzbait in the morning. I targeted docks in really shallow water.”

Ronnie V. Wilson of Grover, N.C., finished fourth among the boaters with five bass going 17.74 pounds including a 5.66-pound kicker to win $386. Brian C. Gunn of Savannah, Ga., rounded out the top five boaters with a five-bass limit weighing 17.68 pounds with a 5.03-pound kicker. Gunn collected a check for $331.

As the highest finishing Royal Purple Royal Rewards participant boater in the event, Gunn also won a general bonus prize package. This prize package included a gallon of Royal Purple oil, a Royal Purple hat, a quart of Royal Purple Max Gear Lube and a Freedom Pass.

Joey Sabbagha of Little Mountain, S.C., finished in sixth place with five bass and 17.40 pounds, but his 6.53-pounder took the Boater Division lunker title. He won $135 for the lunker.

“I caught the big one at 11:30 a.m.,” Sabbagha recalled. “I was flipping docks with a Buckeye Lures Mop jig.”

Alex Hester

Alex Hester

In the Co-Angler Division, Alex Hester of Monroe, N.C., won with three bass going 8.66 pounds. For the victory, he pocketed a check for $828.

“We fished near the marina,” Hester said. “First thing in the morning, I caught one on a deep-diving crankbait. I also caught one on a shaky head. Then, I had a long dry spell. With five minutes left in the tournament, I caught my biggest fish around an offshore rock pile.”

Taking second for the co-anglers, Charles A. Gilley Jr. of Columbia, S.C., brought in a three-bass division limit for 8.29 pounds. He collected $414 for the effort.

“I threw a lot of stuff, but I got most of my good bites on a spinnerbait,” Gilley said. “I worked it really slowly around the ends of points around deep water.”

David W. Cook of Clemmons, N.C., finished third with three bass at 8.11 pounds with a 3.19-pound kicker. He earned $276.

“I caught my fish by Carolina rigging a baby brush hog,” Cook said. “All our fish came off the same spot.”

Michael L. Norris of Myrtle Beach, S.C., placed fourth among the co-anglers with three bass going 7.72 pounds. George F. Parker of Liberty, S.C., followed with three bass and 7.51 pounds. Dan McGlohorn of Pomaria, S.C., took sixth place among the co-anglers with one bass weighing 7.43 pounds, but his fish won tournament big bass honors.

“I caught the fish on a Zoom speed worm,” McGlohorn explained. “I flipped it near a dock. It hit it and went under the dock. I thought it was a catfish.”

The two-day divisional championship will be held Aug. 17-18, 2013, out of Dorn Sport Fishing Facility near McCormick, S.C., to fish Clarks Hill Lake. At the end of the season, one BWS angler will win the opportunity to compete in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

For more information on this tournament, call Billy Benedetti, tournament manager, at 256-230-5632 or ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see

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