Fishing & Boating News

Tennessee Angler Has Ounces Lead At Nation Southern Divisional

by: Helen White, Bassmaster

Mark Pierce of  Radcliff, Ky., takes the Day 2 lead at the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional on the Pee Dee River Basin.
Photo by Craig Lamb/B.A.S.S.
(Apr 23, 2015 - GEORGETOWN, S.C.)  Only ounces separate Mark Pierce from second-place angler John Proctor going into the final round of the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional underway on the Pee Dee River Basin.
Ounces might separate the leader today and the winner tomorrow. However, include pounds in the equation of who will be declared the overall champion.
Pierce, of Kentucky, has the lead with 22 pounds, 13 ounces. Just 12 ounces behind is Day 1 leader Proctor, of South Carolina. Three pounds behind Proctor is fifth-place angler Hayes Hudson with 19-4. Take away the 4-11 big bass caught today by Pierce, and you have a wide-open race.
Pierce earned earned a $250 bonus as the Livingston Lures Leader Award on Day 2.
Proctor, of nearby Conway, S.C., has the edge with experience on this challenging tidal fishery. Pierce, of Radcliff, Ky., is applying a practical approach to his strategy.
“I never fished a tidal river before this tournament,” said the Montgomery Bass Club member. “What I discovered is a lot of black, stained water that I’m not accustomed to fishing.”
By the process of elimination and intuition, he found something different.
“The tide does not affect where I am fishing,” he added. “And it has plenty of current with 2 feet of visibility.”
Even familiar conditions require a persistent presentation for Pierce, who is fishing for the Tennessee team.
“I’m having to grind it out because the fish are so spread out,” he said.
Even so, consistency is on his side. That is a plus in this tournament with narrow weight margins across the scoreboard. Yesterday Pierce weighed 11-7 compared to his catch weighing 11-6 today.
With the scores so close and much at stake, Pierce declined to disclose his location and lures. The same applied to runner-up Proctor, although he abandoned a bed-fishing pattern in favor of expanding his fishing area.
That’s a good idea on a tournament fishery with six river systems available to the competition. The Pee Dee River Basin includes the Sampit, Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Black, Santee and Little Pee Dee rivers. The area covers 232 river miles.
South Carolina widened its lead in the competition between states. The team’s cumulative weight is 187-11. Alabama is second with 164-5 and Georgia has 157-7 for third place. Tennessee is fourth with 147-6.
The winning state team is awarded a Triton 189 TrX rigged with a Mercury outboard, Lowrance electronics and a MotorGuide trolling motor. The complete package is valued at $33,340.
The contestants from seven states qualified from local bass clubs and state championships to at the Nation Southern Divisional. Each team has 14 members. Two of them are high school students taking part in another competition also concluding tomorrow.
State championship high school teams are competing alongside the adults to hone their skills. Cumulative weight caught is added to the overall score of the state team. The winning team receives $500, with $250 going to the runner-up.
Leading the high school rankings is Jake Mims and Jace Garrett of Alexander High School. The Georgia anglers caught 8-9 to take the lead. Caden Watson and Cole Sams of Tennessee are second with 7-15. The anglers represent Marion County High School.
Each adult angler winning his state here advances to the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in the fall.
Takeoff for the final day, Friday, of the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional will take place at Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown at 6:30 a.m. The weigh-in will occur at the same location at 2:30 p.m.
Visit for live daily coverage of the 2015 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional.
The tournament host is Georgetown County.
2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Title Sponsor: Old Milwaukee
2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
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