South Carolina Seizes Lead In BASS Nation Regional
North East, Md. — South Carolina nabbed the first-round lead in the Academy Sports + Outdoors BASS Nation Eastern Regional presented by Magellan on the Upper Chesapeake Bay today with a combined bass catch of 162 pounds, 3 ounces.Second place Delaware and third place Florida are close behind with 157-2 and 155-12 respectively. The weights represent the combined totals from 20-member teams representing the B.A.S.S. Nation organizations. A total of 17 teams from Eastern states, plus the province of Ontario are competing in the three-day event.The Upper Chesapeake Bay is known for its excellent population of largemouth bass, which dominated the overall catch. Smallmouth also live in the Susquehanna River that flows into the Bay, but they don’t average as heavy as the largemouth.
Twenty-pound limits of five largemouth are commonplace on the Upper Chesapeake, said Greg Dipalma, a member of the New Jersey team who has extensive experience on these waters.
“A 20-pound limit of bass is sometimes only good enough for 20th place on the Bay,” Dipalma said. “Tournaments here are usually won on the grass flats.”
However, because the bass here have recently spawned, Dipalma predicted the weights will be down. That proved to be true as only one boater brought in a five-bass limit of more than 21 pounds today.
That was Georgia team angler Tim Carini, who leads the boater division with 22 pounds, 1 ounce. He caught bass throughout the day, with the exception of a two-hour period at midday when the sun came out. Carini had his key location to himself in the morning, but other competitors were inching closer to him later in the day.
“I culled 19 pounds of bass today,” Carini said. “I think I’m fishing a little bit different than what the other guys are doing.”
Carini came in 45 minutes early because he didn’t want to attract any more anglers to his fishing area. His biggest concern is that competitors will beat him to his fish tomorrow.
He was one of the early boats out this morning, which means he will be one of the last boats in line for takeoff Thursday.
Florida team angler Kyle Fox is in second place in the boater division with 20-13. West Virginia team member Kevin Goff is third with 19-12.
Co-anglers are paired with boaters during the tournament, and they are allowed to bring three bass each to the scales. West Virginia team angler Bert Collins made the most of his opportunity and tops the co-angler division with a three-bass limit that weighed 12-14.
Michael Sentore of the New Jersey team weighed in the biggest bass caught by a boater today, 5-15. West Virginia team co-angler Kevin Comes caught the biggest bass of the day, a whopping 6-6 largemouth.
Each team consists of 10 boaters and 10 co-anglers. B.A.S.S. Nation members across the U.S. and Canada compete within their clubs to earn a chance to qualify for a state team.
Besides serious bragging rights, the winning team this week will receive a Skeeter TZX190 bass boat and trailer outfitted with a Yamaha SHO 150 outboard, a Minn Kota 70 Edge trolling motor and a Lowrance Hook 5 sonar/GPS unit.
In addition, the top boater and co-angler from each state team will advance to the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan.
The National Championship, which will be held at Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, on October 19-21, determines three berths in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, also at Lake Hartwell, March 16-18.
Weigh-ins will continue Thursday and Friday at 2 p.m. ET at Anchor Marina in North East, Md.
The event is hosted by Cecil County, Md.