(Apr 7, 2018 - SUMMERTON, S.C.)
Pro Ronnie McCoy of Lamar, South Carolina, brought a five-bass limit weighing 26 pounds, 2 ounces, to the weigh-in stage Saturday – his second 26+ pound limit of the tournament – to win the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division tournament on the Santee Cooper Lakes presented by Bass Pro Shops. McCoy’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 73 pounds, 8 ounces, was enough to earn him the grand prize package worth $93,500, including a brand new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
“I fished clean this week, from up in the swamp all the way down to the dam. It was fantastic,” said McCoy, who earned his first career win in Costa FLW Series competition. “I started each morning of the event targeting the shad spawn above the I-95 bridge and would catch a limit weighing around 15 to 18 pounds. From there, I’d fish all day to try and upgrade.”
McCoy said he used a homemade ½-ounce white double willow leaf spinnerbait with a white Black Flagg Slikk Shadd trailer and a white Z-Man/Evergreen Jack Hammer ChatterBait with the same Slikk Shadd trailer to target bass feeding on shad near cypress trees.
Following the morning bite on Thursday, McCoy said he went sight-fishing and ended up catching the largest bass of the tournament.
“I put a 9-pound, 9-ouncer and a 7-pounder in the boat from the same bed in Potato Creek using a Texas-rigged green-pumpkin-colored (Zoom) Road Kill with a ½-ounce tungsten weight,” said McCoy. “I also caught some good ones in Wyboo Creek, but those two big ones were the most important.”
On Friday, McCoy followed the same schedule but was only able to catch two small fish from beds. On championship Saturday, McCoy abandoned sight-fishing altogether and stayed above I-95, fishing the cypress trees to finish out the tournament.
“I was really fortunate to get those two for nearly 18 pounds on Thursday – they anchored my catch this week. I’m just really blessed.”
The top 10 pros on Santee Cooper Lakes finished:
1st: Ronnie McCoy, Lamar, S.C., 15 bass, 73-8, $93,500
2nd: Daniel Howell, Prosperity, S.C., 15 bass, 67-13, $19,500
3rd: Jonathan Canada, Pelham, Ala., 15 bass, 65-2, $14,100
4th: Joey Sabbagha, Prosperity, S.C., 15 bass, 63-14, $12,000
5th: Robert Crosnoe, Inverness, Fla., 15 bass, 60-12, $11,000
6th: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 14 bass, 58-8, $9,300
7th: Kent Ware, Guntersville, Ala., 14 bass, 57-1, $7,800
8th: Mark Hutson, Moncks Corner, S.C., 15 bass, 56-10, $6,800
9th: Buddy Gross, Chickamauga, Ga., 14 bass, 54-9, $5,800
10th: Lex Costas, Daniel Island, S.C., 13 bass, 49-10, $4,400
McCoy’s 9-pound, 9-ounce fish that he weighed on Thursday was the biggest of the tournament in the Pro Division. For his catch, McCoy earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $300.
Spencer McNeill of Ladson, South Carolina, won the Co-angler Division and a Ranger Z175 with a 90-horsepower outboard motor. McNeill earned his win with a three-day total catch of 11 bass weighing 42 pounds even.
The top 10 co-anglers on Santee Cooper Lakes finished:
1st: Spencer McNeill, Ladson, S.C., 11 bass, 42-0, $28,200
2nd: Jim Short, Ocean Pines, Md., eight bass, 30-7, $6,050
3rd: Keith Westrick, Dallas, N.C., nine bass, 30-5, $4,800
4th: Mark Lamb, Wake Forest, N.C., eight bass, 29-14, $3,900
5th: Coulby Lewis, Macon, Ga., 10 bass, 29-10, $3,400
6th: James Wegmann, Fruitland Park, Fla., 12 bass, 29-9, $2,900
7th: Gerald Bozeman, Sylvester, Ga., 12 bass, 27-6, $2,400
8th: Brian Scott, Sumter, S.C., nine bass, 23-5, $1,950
9th: Dearal Rodgers, Camden, S.C., eight bass, 22-5, $1,580
10th: Shawn York, Sarasota, Fla., eight bass, 20-8, $1,330
Bud McKelvey of Knoxville, Tennessee, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Thursday, a fish weighing 8 pounds, 12 ounces that earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $200.
The Costa FLW Series on Santee Cooper Lakes presented by Bass Pro Shops was hosted by the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce. It was the third and final FLW Series Southeastern Division tournament of the 2018 regular season. The next Costa FLW Series tournament will be the Central Division opener, held April 19-21 on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri and is presented by Lowrance.
The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western – along with the International division. Each U.S. division consists of three regular-season tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to compete in the season-ending Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 1-3 on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama, and is hosted by the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.