Jan 25th, 2021

Greetings! On this page you will find our tournament reviews written by our very own illustrious Vice-President, Mr. John Mayo. Within his words you will find "nuggets" of wisdom, interesting points, facts and ideas that you may use on your next trip. This is John's Corner! Sometimes you may even find a bit of humor in the mix.

The last 20+ tournaments that we have fished are displayed below. Or, you may choose search all reviews to find specific lakes or information. Either way, you will find Mr. Mayo's articles very useful. Enjoy!

Points are awarded based on the position one may finish in a tournament plus the weight of the fish caught and points earned for the attendance of meetings and/or events. These points accumulate for awards at the end of the year.


Dr lashonce

Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 1:00 am through Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 2:00 am

We launched from


Lake Norman

Friday, July 8th, 2016 at 11:00 pm through Saturday, July 8th, 2016 at 8:00 am

We launched from 35.538557,-80.980795 (Little Creek Access Area)

The heat is on. It has been over 90 degrees every day for the last 7 days and it is predicted to reach 90 for at least the next 10 days. The water temps are in the mid to upper 80s and the only time it is comfortable to fish is at night. We decided to fish this tournament from 11pm till 8am on Friday night. I can’t imagine how hot it would have been out there if we had tried to fish a day time tournament. Luckily, we missed the storms that passed through about 9:00pm but had cleared out before we blasted off.

Our turnout was good with 15 members and 5 guests. I was glad to see some of our members that have not been able to fish much were able to come out for this one. Of our 15 members, 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 48 keepers and 75.85 pounds. 6 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for the win with a limit weighing 9.76 pounds and for having big fish with a 3.80lber.

Congratulations to Jesse West for placing 2nd with a limit weighing 9.19 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I decided to start up the lake around Midway Marine. This is not an area we have fished very often but we had caught several fish there a few weeks earlier. We did not plan to stay long but we hoped we could catch a few fish on some boat docks. We started off great and had 4 keepers between us with in the first 30 minutes but both of us got antsy to get to our planned area so we decided to leave. Mistake!! I am almost certain we could have caught more fish if we had stayed for an hour longer. We were seeing lots of bait on the downscan and there seemed to be a good number of fish in the area. It is a perfect example of “not keeping an open mind” about tournament fishing. We had a plan and knew where we wanted to fish but we did not let the fish tell us what to do. We got in way too big of a hurry to get to the places we had planned to fish without taking the time to think.

We spent the next 6-7 hours trying to make the fish bite. It was really tough. I was able to catch a few more keepers to finish my limit but we went for long periods of time with out getting any bites at all. We kept saying that as soon as the sun comes up we will catch a bunch on topwater…..didn’t happen.

Finally at about 6:15 we decided to run back up the lake to where we started. Of course by then it was full daylight and the sun was shinning right on the area where we had caught them before. Even with that, Angela managed to catch her 2nd keeper before we ran out of time.

When I look back on this tournament, I have to think to myself that even after all these years and all the time I have spent fishing tournaments I still make really dumb mistakes. I still try to make the fish do what I want them to do instead of letting them tell me what I should be doing. You don’t leave biting fish to go fish where you think they should be biting. I think that is one of the most important things any new angler can learn. Listen to the FISH!!!!


High Rock Lake

Saturday, June 4th, 2016 at 6:30 am through Saturday, June 4th, 2016 at 3:30 pm

We launched from 35.609092,-80.309104 (Tamarac Access Area)

Well, it is officially summer. It was hot (90+ degrees) and sunny all day and the boat traffic was insane. The morning started out pretty nice and quiet but as the day wore on, it got pretty crazy. I think it is time to start night fishing. The water was pretty clear (except for the mud lines created by the boat wakes) and about 83 degrees. It took an extremely long time to get the boats out of the water due to long lines at the ramp and I am sure everyone was ready for the day to be over.

Our turnout was very good considering the distance many of our competitors have to drive to reach High Rock. We had 17 club members and 2 guests. Of the 17 club members, 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 40 keepers and 80.72 pounds. Three of our members were able to bring limits to the scales. Due to the heat and the fish being in the live wells extra time, we had 6 dead fish.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggings for the win with a really nice limit of 14.26 pounds. I told Angela on the way to the lake that Billy was going to be hard to beat. He has fished High Rock a good bit and knows it pretty well but he did not have a good tournament there a few weeks ago at the Western Qualifier, so I figured he would be pretty mad at them and wouldn’t have 2 bad tournaments in a row. He was able to put it together during a tough day. Congratulations.

Congratulations to Jesse West for 2nd place with 4 fish weighing 11.61 pounds. His bag also contained the big fish of the tournament at 5.32 pounds. Jesse is doing well so far this year. He missed one tournament so he is currently in 9th place but when we start dropping tournaments, he will jump up and be in contention for AOY.

Note: I always find it interesting to notice the point system as the year progresses. We have fished 8 of our 14 tournament schedule. As of now we have 4 members with over 60 pounds of fish. Chris Martin has 70.66 and Brian Brewster is a close 2nd with 68.89 pounds. We have 3 other members with over 50 pounds. This is far above the level we were at this same time last year, or any previous year. To my knowledge, during the last 8 years that I have been in the club, 116 pounds is the most any one has ever caught during a year. All 7 of these club members are on track to exceed that weight.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I had not been to High Rock (other than Dad and I came over one day 3 weeks ago for him to practice for the Western Qualifier) before this tournament. We really struggled but I guess we should be proud that we were able to put 9 keepers in the boat. Most of my fish were caught on a shakeyhead and hers were caught on a wacky rig. The heat really seemed to bother her and she became slightly nauseated and I took her back to the Tamerac to get her out of the sun for a while. Of course, it wasn’t long till she was calling saying she wanted to come back out and she did fine the rest of the day.


Lake Hickory

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am through Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.7958583608,-81.3496539232 (Lovelady Access)

The weather was really nice. It was sunny with very little wind. It was however very crowded with a open tournament going out of Whittenburg Landing and a lot of people practicing for next week’s CBC.

Our turnout was good with 25 members and 2 guests. Of the 25 club members, 22 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 63 keepers and 141.02 pounds. 6 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Jody Wright for the win with a really nice limit weighing 17.52 pounds.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 2nd place with another nice limit weighing 13.86 pounds.

Congratulations to Greg Lovelace for 3rd place with yet another nice limit weighing 13.51 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: For some reason Angela and my decision making has been really bad lately. We had very few bites all day. It seemed we went the wrong way (down) early and couldn’t get bit so we moved back up and couldn’t get bit. I talked to some people that said they got bit early up the lake and late down the lake………so we missed both bites. We both need to settle down and start putting some fish in the boat.


Lake Wylie

Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at 7:30 am through Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.107718 -81.039861 (Buster Boyd Access)

(I would like to apologize for taking so long to write up this summary but Angela and I left the next morning for her LBAA Tournament on Hartwell).

The weather was cool and windy. Mostly sunny but with 20-25mph wind gust it felt cold all day. However, the fishing was excellent and we set new records for our club with both numbers of keepers and total weight.

Our turnout was good with 25 members and 2 guests. Of the 25 members 23 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 92 keepers and 180.24 pounds. We had 12 (almost ½) of our members bring a five fish limit to the scales. These numbers reflect a new record for total number of fish weighed, total weight and total number of limits.

Congratulations to Jesse West for the win with 5 bass weighing 12.02 pounds. This is Jesse’s 2nd win for the year.

Congratulations to Brian Brewster for placing 2nd with 5 bass weighing 11.48 pounds.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for placing 3rd with a limit weighing 11.48 pounds.

Congratulations to Stephen Ellis for having big fish with a nice 3.46 pounder.

Personal Tournament Summary: Wow……we really struggled. We had several places we felt could produce fish for us but it seemed they all fell apart. Not a lot to say.


Lake Hartwell

Saturday, March 26th, 2016 at 7:30 am through Saturday, March 26th, 2016 at 4:30 pm

We launched from 34.514337,-82.830523 (Broyles Landing)

The weather was much cooler on Hartwell than most of us expected. It was cloudy all day and we even had a little rain on some parts of the lake. The clouds kept the air temperature and the water temperature down compared to the past few days. Between the clouds and the extreme amounts of pollen on the water, the sight fishing was pretty tough. I am sure that most of our anglers were aware that the FLW Tour had a tournament on Hartwell the weekend before we did. During the FLW tournament there were a lot of fish caught off beds, however, things had changed during the week and it seemed that most of the females had left the beds. What was left was a lot of male bass and that was reflected in our catch. I personally believe that the larger spawn wave has not occurred yet. I think that in the next few weeks another wave of big females will move up on to the spawning flats.

Congratulations to Jody Wright for the win with a limit weighing 11.85 pounds. He also had big fish with a 4.22 pound largemouth. Jody is a new member of our club but has been around our club for many years. He is friends with a lot of our members and has fished as a guest several times over the years. His reputation as an excellent fisherman is very well known. He missed our first tournament at Mtn. Island so his AOY ranking is still low, but he has done well since then and is well on his way to be in contention for AOY.

Congratulations to Brian Brewster for 2nd place with a limit weighing 10.32 pounds. Brian is doing well this year. He struggled in the first 2 events but has come on strong in the last 3 and is now in 2nd place for AOY. Brian is an excellent fisherman and his win at Murray (day 2) was very impressive. I believe he will be another angler that will be in contention at for AOY.

I was third with a limit weighing 8.89 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: We decided to drive down on Thursday evening so we could pre fish on Friday. Angela and I fished really hard Friday with very little results. We only had 3 keepers between us and very few bites. I really did not have any idea what we were going to do on Saturday. We decided to start in a creek where Angela caught her only keeper on Friday. After about an hour with out a bite we realized that we were just going to have to go find new water so we ran about 5 miles to an area that I fished about 5 years ago. I was not sure what we were going to find but it had to be better than what we did on Friday so we just started junk fishing. We caught some of our fish off beds but mostly we caught them “just fishing” in places that looked like spawning areas. Dad and Ben had a much better day on Friday and were able to find enough fish for both to have limits Saturday. They caught all of their fish on Saturday (15 keepers) in one cove.


Lake Murray (2 Days of Tournaments)

Sunday, March 6th, 2016 at 7:00 am through Sunday, March 6th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 849 Marina Way, Prosperity, SC 29127(Buffalo Creek Marina)

Spring has begun to show itself in the Carolinas but is not quite in full swing yet. The weather was still quite cool on Saturday morning and the wind and clouds kept the temps down all day. The water was stained through out the entire lake and the water temps were mostly in the lower 50s. There were a few places where the surface temp reached 58-59 late in the afternoon.

On Saturday, we had an excellent turnout with 26 members and 7 guests. Of the 26 members 19 were able the bring fish to the scales for a total of 52 keepers and 118.41 pounds. 3 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Alan Cooke for the win with a limit weighing 13.51 pounds.

I was able to place 2nd with a limit weighing 11.86 pounds.

Jody Wright placed 3rd with a limit weighing 11.46 pounds.

Big fish was 5.46 pounds caught by (then guest , now member) Greg Lovelace.

On Sunday the weather warmed some and the sun felt good. The wind did blow in the mid-morning but seemed to lay by the afternoon and the temps rose to the point of wearing short sleeves.

Our turnout lowered some with 22 members and 2 guests. Of the 22 members 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 28 keepers and 73.23 pounds. 2 members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Brian Brewster for the win with 4 fish weighing 13.71 pounds.

Jody Wright placed 2nd with a limit weighing 12.81 pounds.

Angela was 3rd with a limit weighing 11.35 pounds.

Big fish was 5.38 pounds caught by me (John K. Mayo).

Personal Tournament Summary: Over all I have to say I was disappointed with the fishing. I really thought we would be able to get a lot more bites than we did, especially on Sunday afternoon, when the sun warmed the water up to almost 60 degrees. The bites seem to be separated by long periods of time and it was very easy to get frustrated. We tried to find some fish on some grassy points at the mouths of spawning pockets but could not get the bites we needed so we spent most of out time in the upper sections of creeks where the water was a little warmer. We caught most of our fish on a texas rig worm on hard bottom areas along the banks. We were never really able to get many bites off one area and we had to continue moving to string together enough bites. On Sunday morning Angela caught her limit early and I did not have a single fish until about 1:30. I really struggled to get bit through out the entire event.


Lake Norman

Saturday, February 20th, 2016 at 8:00 am through Saturday, February 20th, 2016 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

Our 2nd tournament of 2016 went very well. We had a huge turnout and the weather was much warmer. They were predicting it to be 65 degrees and cloudy and although it did not make quite that warm it was still in the mid 50’s. The water temperature was in the upper 40s and it was clear in and around Little Creek. We had very little wind and no rain. However, we did have an extremely high number of boats on the lake. I do not believe I have ever seen as many bass boats on Lake Norman before. I know there were several tournaments taking place, including a large Ram Truck event out of Pinnacle Landing, plus a lot of boats practicing for the BFL scheduled for next weekend.

Our turnout was very good with 25 club members and 4 guests. Of the 25 club members 20 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 64 keepers and 107.77 pounds. 7 of our members were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Jesse West for winning with a 5 fish limit that weighed 10.93 pounds.

Jesse is one of our newer members (although he fished several tournaments as a guest last year) and has done very well so far. He is an example of a change we are seeing in our club demographics. We are starting to see several “young guns” do well at our tournaments and I believe it is a sign of growth. It is good to see younger guys out there fishing club tournaments when so many of them only want to fish money trails. Jesse is an example of the kind of fisherman that is the future of the club, The Federation and the sport. Keep up the good work Jesse.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 2nd place with a 5 fish limit weighing 10.38 pounds.

Chris is always a force to be reckoned with at our tournaments. He is very consistent. He has placed 2nd in both our tournaments this year and is in 1st place in AOY standings. His consistency is what always puts him in position at the end of the year to challenge for AOY.

Congratulations to Ben Mayo for 3rd place with a 5 fish limit weighing 10.37 pounds.

Ben is a very good fisherman. I have watched him develop over the years and he has excellent mechanics. I believe I am starting to see him grow in the mental side of the sport. His decision making and preparation are areas that he has begun to improve. As they continue to improve his tournament results will begin to reflect the effort. I am very proud of him and look forward to watching his success during the rest of the year.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I planned to start this tournament in the same area we normally start winter tournaments. However, there were 2 boats sitting on our 1st spot when we arrived. We had to make some changes and wait for them to leave. Luckily they did not stay long and we were able to move in to our starting area about 30 minutes late. Once we got there Angela quickly caught 2 nice keepers and lost a third on a swimbait. I finally caught 1 on a crankbait. We moved to our 2nd spot where Angela finished her limit on a jerkbait. So she had 5 and I had only had 1 bite. It took me the rest of the day to finish my limit. I could not get bit on a jerkbait and had to catch my fish on a shakeyhead or Texas rig. I can’t help be feel like I was holding her back because we fished a lot of places where we normally catch “keeper” size fish (so I could get 5) instead of looking for bigger fish for her. She ended up with 8 keepers but was not able to cull to increase her weight.


Mountain Island Lake

Saturday, February 13th, 2016 at 8:00 am through Saturday, February 13th, 2016 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 35.353759, -80.97282 (Riverbend Public Access)

Well the Thermal Belt Bassmasters 2016 tournament schedule is underway. Our first scheduled tournament (January 23rd) was postponed due to snow and rescheduled for February 13th. The weather was cold (high of 32) and breezy but the overall fishing was pretty good. It was mostly sunny with a 10 mph wind blowing from the North. The water temperatures ranged from 46-49 degrees and the water was clear through out lake. Our turnout was pretty good with 16 club members braving the cold. Of the 16 members, 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 39 keepers and 76.81 pounds. We had 3 members that were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for having an exceptional day with 5 fish weighing 21.66 pounds. His bag also included the big fish of 6.22 pounds.

As far as I know this is the biggest bag ever weighed in during the history of Thermalbelt Bassmasters. It is really amazing to have it caught on such a cold day, and in a lake that is not as well known for producing big fish as some of the other fisheries. Brian should be very proud of this accomplishment and deserves to be congratulated by every club member. Brian had an excellent day at Mt. Island last year in our March tournament with 16.02 pounds. (This is the 3rd year in a row that Mt. Island has produced a 6+ pound fish during our tournament.)

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 2nd place with 5 fish weighing 10.50 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Wow….we really struggled. We had very few bites and were not able to find any concentration of fish. We were both finally able to catch a few


Lake James

Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at 7:30 am through Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at 3:30 pm

We launched from 35.74828, -81.96721 (Black Bear Access)

Ever since I can remember I have heard people say that bass fishing (like all other types of fishing) is all about luck. People always ask “did you have any luck today?” Or they may say “I have a lot of luck fishing a purple worm”. I will the first to admit that “luck” is a part of fishing. However, I have noticed over the years that the harder you work at bass fishing the luckier you become. The more time you spend on the water - and sometimes even off the water - getting prepared for a tournament increases your chances of getting lucky. Sure, you can get lucky and stumble on a big fish, but your experience often is what puts you in the position to contact that big fish. Your decisions to fish a certain area or even a certain bait is based on your experience. This experience is what makes us better fishermen. I can remember many people over the years that would decide that they wanted to become a bass fishermen. They would go out and buy a nice boat and spend thousands of dollars on equipment. They would wear clothes that matched their boat and jerseys with patches all over them. However, at the end of the day, their livewell was often empty. They thought that having the best equipment and the prettiest boat would make them good fishermen. What they didn’t have is the one thing in bass fishing that you can’t buy…..time on the water. So after a few years of not having any “luck” they decided that they really didn’t like bass fishing any way and start playing golf or bowling or what ever. That is one reason you see so many boats that never seem to leave their garage. It takes a special type of person to really love this sport.

Lake James can be a tough fishery. Its clear water and deep rocky banks are difficult for many fishermen to figure out. However, it can also be a great fishery. It is very rare for anyone to be able to catch 13+ pounds of smallmouth. It takes dedication and commitment and the ability to recognize when you have found a pattern. After you find them, you have to be able to execute and get the bites. After you get bit, you have to be able to put them in the boat. When all these things come together, it adds up to an excellent day. For all these things to happen, there is much more involved than just “luck”. So Alan, when someone asked if you had any “luck” on Saturday you can just smile and say yes but realize that it wasn’t all about “luck”.

Our turnout was down a little with 13 members and 2 guests. Of the 13 members, 8 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 21 keepers and 47.64 pounds. We had 2 members that were able to bring 5 fish limits to the scales.

Congratulations to Alan Cooke for the win with a limit of smallmouth that weighed 13.19 pounds. Alan had an excellent day. He has not finished as well this year as he has the past few years but days like this are what tournament fishing is all about.

Congratulations to John W. Mayo for 2nd place with a limit of largemouth that weighed 8.04 pounds. Dad (John) broke in to the top 6 with this tournament. He struggled at Santee Cooper but has turned his year around and has done well since.

Congratulations to Ben Mayo for having big fish with a 4.01 pound largemouth. Ben has struggled this year. I am super glad to see him start to get on the right track. Hopefully this will give him the motivation to have much better year in 2016.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I really struggled. We had boat problems again and it really hurt our ability to catch fish. We didn’t have very much luck.


Lake Murray

Sunday, October 25th, 2015 at 6:00 am through Sunday, October 25th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 849 Marina Way, Prosperity, SC 29127(Buffalo Creek Marina)

Ever since I was a kid I have always enjoyed fishing Lake Murray. It has so many different types of water and different patterns that can produce fish. There is a lot of off shore structure and also a lot of shallow water fishing.

Our weather for this tournament was excellent. We had a little wind on Saturday but not to much, and I believe we had the prettiest sunrises I have ever seen. The sun got a little hot on Sunday but it was still very nice. I am writing this on Tuesday after the tournament and it is cold and raining at my house. I am really glad we didn’t have this weather during the tournament.

With our season winding down, the point race is heating up. There are several anglers fighting for top 6 positions and the AOY race is far from being decided.

One the first day we had 22 club members. Of those 22 members, 19 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 44 keepers and 90.49 pounds. We had 3 members with limits.

Congratulations to me….John K. Mayo for 1st place with 4 bass that weighed 10.63 pounds. I also had big fish with a 3.84 pounder.

Congratulations to Richard Young for 2nd with 5 fish weighing 10.21 pounds.

Congratulations to Terry Horn for 3rd with 5 fish weighing 9.98 pounds.

On the second day we had 21 club members. Of those 21 members, 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 31 keepers and 51.19 pounds. We had 3 members with limits.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 1st place with 9.54 pounds.

Congratulations to Steve Deaton for 2nd place with 9.37 pounds. (Steve’s best tournament so far.)

Congratulations to John K. Mayo for 3rd place with 9.35 pounds.

Congratulations to Richard Young for having big fish with a nice 4.74 pounder.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I drove down on Thursday evening so we could get an early start on Friday morning. Of course it was so foggy Friday morning, we couldn’t run and ended up staying near the ramp for the first couple of hours. We had already planned what we indented to do on Saturday so we just wanted to look around and see if we could find a back up plan. We had very little action until we found a few points with some grass growing out in about 6ft of water. We started catching nice fish out of the grass. Each point only seemed to produce 1 fish until we hit the right point and we caught 3 in 3 casts. We decided that is where we would start Saturday morning. So when we got there Saturday morning Angela caught her best fish of the day on about her 3rd cast and I really thought we were going to have an excellent day. However, we did not get another bite until 11:30. I was really getting frustrated but then it seemed the fish turned on and we caught several quickly. All of them were on points in 2-8 ft of water. Since our point fish did not seem to bite until later in the day we decided to fish our original plan on Sunday morning and hit the points about 10:00. We caught 3 keepers each up in the end of a creek and then headed out to our points. I caught 1 on the first 2 points we fished and Angela missed several. They were not as aggressive with out the wind blowing. Angela caught her 4th fish off a boatdock about 1:30. Overall we had a great weekend. We made good decisions and both of us fish pretty clean.


Lake Wateree

Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am through Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 881 State Park Rd, Winnsboro, SC 29180, USA

Due to the low water conditions at Lake Wylie, Duke Power closed all the ramps on the lake and we had to change our tournament location to Lake Wateree. It had been several years since most of our club members had been to Lake Wateree. I know it had been at least 25 years since I had been there. The lake was full and reminded me a little of Lake Murray.

The weather was hot and sunny with some light wind. It was 92 degrees and would have been pretty unbearable without the wind and the occasional passing cloud. September is always a tough month to catch fish and this tournament was no different. We did have some nice fish caught but not many of them.

Our turnout was pretty good for our 10th tournament of the year with 19 club members in attendance. Of the 19 members 13 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 24 keepers and 54.33 pounds. We did not have any angler that was able to weigh a limit. With our tenth tournament in the books, the point race will begin to get extremely tight from now until the end of the season. Everyone will be battling to make the top 6 and as we begin to drop tournaments, the competition always intensifies. This is when all the hard work pays off.

Congratulations to Billy for winning with 4 bass weighing 10.00 pounds even. Billy has had an excellent year so far. He has won 3 times and has over 80 pounds of bass weighed in only 9 tournaments. He is well on his way to having over 100 pounds for the year, which to my knowledge has never been done before and he is in perfect position to win the AOY Title.

Congratulations to Chris Martin for 2nd place with 4 bass weighting 8.07 pounds. Chris is, as always, right in the mist of battling for the top position. He stumbled in the dark of Lake James, but as soon as we start dropping tournaments, he will be right back in the fight.

Congratulations to Tiger for big fish with a nice 4.09 pound bass. Tiger has only fished 5 of our 10 tournaments but has scored well in the ones he has attended. He is always competitive at every event.

Personal Tournament Summary: With almost no experience at Lake Wateree, Dad and I decided at the last minute to go down on Thursday before the tournament and at least look around a little. I was not surprised to see several other of our club members there trying to do the same thing. We fished several different areas of the lake and found a few fish up shallow in the back of a creek and some others out on main lake banks. So we decided Dad and Ben would start in the back of the creek and Angela and I would start on the main lake. Angela and I caught fish all day and had 20-30 fish but could only find 3 keepers between us. Dad and Ben did not catch anything after 9:30 and did not catch very many fish, but dad did have better fish from the back of the creek. It is tough to go find fish on a new lake but it is really tough to go find enough fish for 4 people.


Lake James

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 at 12:00 am through Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 at 8:00 am

We launched from 35.74828, -81.96721 (Black Bear Access)

It was Dark….. Very Dark. The fishing was Slow….Very Slow.

Our turnout was down with only 12 members. Of the 12 members, only 6 brought fish to the scales for a total of 13 keepers and 24 pounds.

Congratulations to John W. Mayo for the win with 5.98lbs and for having big fish with a 3.04 Lunker.

I was able to place 2nd with 5.75lbs.

Billy was 3rd (4th time in a row) with 4.99 lbs.

Personal Tournament Summary: As I think back over my life, I realize how lucky I have been to be able to do what I love to do….fish. So many people go through their entire lives without ever finding what they truly love to do. They change hobbies every few years and seem to never really have a passion for any one thing. I have always known what I wanted to do. I am told that my first “all day” fishing trip was when I was about 5 years old. That would have been about 1970. My father took me about 30 miles north of my home town to Point Pleasant, WV, to fish the Ohio River. Point Pleasant is the place where the Kanawha River empties into the Ohio River. (It is also the site of a battlefield where the Colonial Army fought the Shawnee Indians under Chief Cornstalk in October 1774. Because the Indians were supported by the British, many historians consider this battle the first battle of the American Revolution.) I only really remember a few things about the trip. I caught nothing. I do remember hooking a fish or two on a Heddon Hellbender crankbait, but I did not catch any at all. We fished from daylight until dark, and at the end of the day I remember being very upset that it was time to go home. I think I cried. I think after that my father realized I had a passion for fishing that most kids did not. My father would have been about 32 years old when he took me on that trip. It was the first of 1000s of days we would spend fishing together. After that day, he took me with him on almost every fishing trip he went on. Looking back on it now, I realize that he could have gone with someone that could have paid ½ the cost but he didn’t. He always took me. I remember those days like they were just a few years ago…..it is hard to believe they were close to 40 years ago. My father taught me so many things about fishing and about life in general during all those days on the water. I still learn from him every time we go. Sure, he has slowed down a little, but he still out fishes me quite often. I am proud of him for winning. I am not at all surprised that he won, but I am still proud of him. Mostly, I am thankful to him for taking me all those times. He is the reason I am a bass fisherman.


Lake Norman

Saturday, July 11th, 2015 at 12:00 am through Saturday, July 11th, 2015 at 8:00 am

We launched from 4906 Burton Ln, Denver, NC 28037 (Little Creek Access Area)

The dog days of summer have arrived and we have had several days over 100 degrees. It seems like every time I see the 7 day forecast it is the same, 95-100 every day with a low of 70-75 every night, with a chance of thunderstorms. It’s really a depressing thing to look at. I hate to wish time away but I am really looking forward to October!

Our season is half over and it looks like we are going to have another close race for the top 6 places. I am glad to see we have several anglers who are paying close attention to the points race. I believe that friendly competitiveness makes the club stronger and each angler fish as hard as they can. I wish everyone good luck.

We decided to fish this tournament from 12 midnight to 8 am. I am so glad we did because by it was already getting hot and I was soaked from sweat and fish water by the time I finished weighing the fish.

The fishing was really pretty tough and a lot of our anglers struggled. We had a pretty good turn out for a night tournament with 22 club members and 1 guest. Of the 22 members 20 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 61 keepers and 96.82 pounds.

Congratulations to Richard Young for the win with 9.57 pounds. Richard had some nice fish. He won this tournament with only 3 fish including the big fish for the tournament at 4.51 pounds. This is Richard’s first win for the year but, just like every year, he has been very consistent and is in 2nd place and closing the gap. It is Richard’s consistency that makes him a top contender every year and it is the best measurement of a good fishermen.

Congratulations to Tyger Elton for 2nd place with 8.89 pounds. Tyger has only been able to fish four of our tournaments this season and that has him lower in the rankings but he has done well in the tournaments he has fished. When we start dropping tournaments at the end of the year he will move up in the rankings quickly.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for 3rd place with 7.79 pounds. Billy missed our first tournament of the year due to illness. Since then he has done the same thing he seems to do every year. He has been consistent and has already won twice. He is in 5th place for the year but is in excellent position to move up quickly. He will be a close contender for the top place again this year.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I really struggled to get bites. At about 5:00am I did not have a single fish and she only had 1 13-1/2 inch fish that had died. I had only had 2-3 bites all night and I have to admit that I felt like there was an excellent chance I was going to blank. Finally, about daylight, we started to catch a few fish and I was able to catch a very small limit on a texas rig. Angela had 3 keepers and missed a few key bites. Overall, it was a bad tournament for us but I have to admit that I was kind of proud to be able to catch a limit after such a long night with so little action.


Lake Hickory

Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at 4:00 am through Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at 12:00 pm

We launched from 35.7958583608,-81.3496539232 (Lovelady Access)

Summer in the Carolinas is upon us. It’s been well above 90 degrees. The water temp is in the 80s and the fish have moved into their summer haunts. We fished from 4am-12 noon to get away from the heat and the boaters. I am super glad we did cause by noon it was getting hot and a little crazy out there. We had a little cloud cover but over all it was sunny, hot and there was very little wind. However it was a beautiful dawn and watching the sun come up on the lake is always a remarkable sight.

We had a good turnout with 24 club members and 4 guests. Of the 24 club members, 21 brought fish to the scales for a total of 52 keepers and 113.79 pounds. The fishing was pretty tough with only 1 limit weighed in by a club member.

Congratulations to…..me. I won with 16.86 pounds and had big fish with a 5.50 pound kicker

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Congratulations to Brian Brewster for 2nd with 9.32 pounds.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for 3rd with 8.90 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I fished the lower end of the lake on the Saturday before the tournament and we found some good fish on a few points. We fished about a dozen other points to establish a pattern but we found that the fish were only located on a few main lake points with long slopping drops. We had found 3 places that held fish so the night before the tournament we decided to simply rotate through those 3 spots. When we arrived at out first spot, there was a boat sitting right on our place so we had to go to our 2nd spot. We did not get a bite on our 2nd spot so we rotated to our 3rd spot. I quickly caught my biggest fish (5.50lbs) on a spinnerbait. I then was able to add 2 more keepers to the live well on a worm so we fished the area again. On our 2nd pass we did not have a single bite so we ran back to our original starting place and the boat had left. I caught 2 more keepers and had my limit. We continued to rotate through our spots and I was able to cull a few times. We then decided to run back up the lake and fish some wood. I was able to cull again and Angela was able to catch her keeper out of some trees in the upper end of a creek. I do not understand why Angela was not able to catch more fish than she did. She was throwing exactly the same bait as I was. I do know she did not get much sleep the night before the tournament and I believe that may have caused her to miss a few fish. Overall I was very happy with my day. I was able to fish very clean and other than having a deep hooked fish die on me it was an excellent day.


Lake Wylie

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 6:00 am through Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 199 Boat Launch Rd, Belmont, NC 28012 (South Point Access)

It seems like Lake Wylie has really turned around since last year. In fact, as far as I can tell, in this tournament we had the best total weight in Thermal Belt B/M history with 138.99 pounds. Last year we had 3 tournaments on Lake Wylie and all 3 were won with less than 8.5 pounds. I am not sure why the fishing was so slow last year but I am really glad to see it has improved.

We fished from 6am-2pm due to the holiday weekend and it is good we did. It was really starting to get crazy out there during the last few hours and I am sure it got worse after we quit. I am glad we did not have any major problems. I was hopping for a little rain to help reduce the boat traffic but the weather was pretty nice with mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid 80s. We had very little wind and I think that may have made the fishing a little tougher.

We had a good turnout with 25 members and 3 guests. Of the 25 members, 23 brought fish to the scales for a total of 72 keepers and 138.99 pounds. We had 5 limits weighed in and only 3 dead fish.

Congratulations to Billy for winning with 5 fish weighing 15.37 pounds and for having big fish of 4.26lbs.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for 2nd place with 5 fish weighing 11.65 pounds and to Chris Martin for placing 3rd with 5 fish weighing 10.45 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: I could not have asked for a better looking morning. The water was slick and the weather was perfect. Angela and I started down the lake and were able to catch a few keepers early but then things slowed down for us. We fished the Saturday before the tournament and we had found a point below the Buster Boyd bridge that had some brush piles out in 10-15ft. We had caught some nice fish there and marked a lot of others so we both were really confident we could catch some good keeper fish there. It did not turn out that way and Angela caught the only keeper the point produced (except for a 6lb flathead catfish) so we had to adjust and make some changes. Angela lost 2 different keepers and that hurt her from weighing in her limit. Over all it was a pretty good day but I do believe I would have spent more time throwing topwater early if I could do it again.


Santee Cooper Lake(s) (Day 2)

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am through Sunday, April 12th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

We launched from 320 Harrys Camp Road, Pineville, SC 29468, United States (Harry's Fish Camp)

Our 1st trip to Santee Cooper as a club (at least in last 7 years) was successful. The fishing was tough and I know that many of our anglers blanked at least 1 day and several blanked both days but, as far as I know, nobody did any major damage to their boat and everyone arrived home safe. We stayed at Harry’s Fish Camp and the accommodations were adequate. We got a chance to sit around and talk and get to know some of our newer members. It always is good for everyone to have a chance to spend some time together. It helps us grow as club.

The fishing was very tough. I was really surprised at how hard it was to get bites. Some of our anglers reported finding fish on beds but I believe most of the fish were post spawn. It seems that most of the fish were caught in lilly pad fields on either frogs or worms. There were some fish caught around cypress trees but most were either in pads or some other type of vegetation.

We had some big fish caught with several over 4 pounds and two over 6 pounds including our new big fish for the year a 7.23 pounder caught by Brian Anderson.

Our turnout was good for such a long trip with 24 members and 2 guests on the first day and 20 members and 2 guests on day 2. On day 1 we had 17 fish weighed in for a total of 47.67pounds.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for the win on day 1 with a nice sack of 15.55 pounds and for big fish of 6.83 pounds. Congratulations to Brian Brewster for 2nd place with 5.59 pounds and to Justin McCluney for 3rd with 5.42 pounds.

On day 2 we had 20 fish weighed in for a total of 56.75 pounds.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for the win with 9.24 pounds and for big fish of 7.23 pounds (New big fish for the year). Congratulations to Michael Mace for 2nd place with 8.62 pounds (the only 5 fish limit of the entire weekend). I was able to place 3rd with 7.00 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: I have to admit that I was really shocked at how tough the fishing was. We drove down Thursday evening and started fishing Friday morning and we had very little action. We decided to take out and trailer to another area of the lake and finally did catch a few small fish and Angela did catch 1 keeper on floating worms. So with almost no action on Friday we decided to run to Wyboo Creek on Saturday morning (thanks Casey for letting us follow you) because the last time I fished Santee I caught some fish around the boat docks. We had only 2-3 bites all morning and finally I caught 1 fish about 10 inches long. We ran back to the area around Harry’s about 2:00 and finally did manage to catch 1 keeper fish each on a floating worm. Then we had to decide what to do on Sunday. We had so little action that I did not feel confident we could catch fish any where. We decided to return to the only place we had any action at all on Friday. We were expecting to have the place to ourselves but we were wrong. There were 7 different boats in the area and they kept us confined to one small arm of the cove. I finally had a blow up and miss on a topwater bait and Angela was able to follow up with a worm to catch her 3lber. I started throwing a worm and pulling it across the pads. I managed to catch my 3 fish just as the worm reached the edge of the pads. We moved around a little but mostly we stayed it the same area all day because it was the only place we could get bites. We caught approximately 6-8 fish all day with a total of only 4 keepers. It was very tough and frustrating to fish so many great looking places with so few bites.


Santee Cooper Lake(s) (Day 1)

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 at 7:30 am through Saturday, April 11th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

We launched from 320 Harrys Camp Road, Pineville, SC 29468, United States (Harry's Fish Camp)

Our 1st trip to Santee Cooper as a club (at least in last 7 years) was successful. The fishing was tough and I know that many of our anglers blanked at least 1 day and several blanked both days but, as far as I know, nobody did any major damage to their boat and everyone arrived home safe. We stayed at Harry’s Fish Camp and the accommodations were adequate. We got a chance to sit around and talk and get to know some of our newer members. It always is good for everyone to have a chance to spend some time together. It helps us grow as club.

The fishing was very tough. I was really surprised at how hard it was to get bites. Some of our anglers reported finding fish on beds but I believe most of the fish were post spawn. It seems that most of the fish were caught in lilly pad fields on either frogs or worms. There were some fish caught around cypress trees but most were either in pads or some other type of vegetation.

We had some big fish caught with several over 4 pounds and two over 6 pounds including our new big fish for the year a 7.23 pounder caught by Brian Anderson.

Our turnout was good for such a long trip with 24 members and 2 guests on the first day and 20 members and 2 guests on day 2. On day 1 we had 17 fish weighed in for a total of 47.67pounds.

Congratulations to Billy Scoggins for the win on day 1 with a nice sack of 15.55 pounds and for big fish of 6.83 pounds. Congratulations to Brian Brewster for 2nd place with 5.59 pounds and to Justin McCluney for 3rd with 5.42 pounds.

On day 2 we had 20 fish weighed in for a total of 56.75 pounds.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for the win with 9.24 pounds and for big fish of 7.23 pounds (New big fish for the year). Congratulations to Michael Mace for 2nd place with 8.62 pounds (the only 5 fish limit of the entire weekend). I was able to place 3rd with 7.00 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: I have to admit that I was really shocked at how tough the fishing was. We drove down Thursday evening and started fishing Friday morning and we had very little action. We decided to take out and trailer to another area of the lake and finally did catch a few small fish and Angela did catch 1 keeper on floating worms. So with almost no action on Friday we decided to run to Wyboo Creek on Saturday morning (thanks Casey for letting us follow you) because the last time I fished Santee I caught some fish around the boat docks. We had only 2-3 bites all morning and finally I caught 1 fish about 10 inches long. We ran back to the area around Harry’s about 2:00 and finally did manage to catch 1 keeper fish each on a floating worm. Then we had to decide what to do on Sunday. We had so little action that I did not feel confident we could catch fish any where. We decided to return to the only place we had any action at all on Friday. We were expecting to have the place to ourselves but we were wrong. There were 7 different boats in the area and they kept us confined to one small arm of the cove. I finally had a blow up and miss on a topwater bait and Angela was able to follow up with a worm to catch her 3lber. I started throwing a worm and pulling it across the pads. I managed to catch my 3 fish just as the worm reached the edge of the pads. We moved around a little but mostly we stayed it the same area all day because it was the only place we could get bites. We caught approximately 6-8 fish all day with a total of only 4 keepers. It was very tough and frustrating to fish so many great looking places with so few bites.


Mountain Island Lake

Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at 7:00 am through Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

We launched from 35.353759, -80.97282 (Riverbend Public Access)

Well…..The Thermal Belt Bass Masters have certainly grown over the past few years. We had the biggest turnout in club history at this tournament with 31 fishermen. Even with the cold morning temp of 25 degrees, we had 29 club members and 2 guests fishing out of 20 boats. I have to admit that I never dreamed we would have such a large turnout at Mt Island on a cold March morning. It is really great to see so many people involved and the club continuing to grow. Club fishing is and has been a big part of my lifetime fishing experience and I have hundreds of memories of days spent on the water at club events. Club tournaments will make you go fishing on days you want to stay home because the weather is bad and it will make you go to lakes that you would have never gone to. I have learned so much over the years fishing club tournaments and it is great to have a chance to pass on some of that knowledge and experience to other members. Club fishing is about giving all the members a chance to grow in both fishing knowledge and confidence. It gives us a chance to compete at level that challenges all of us. We have some excellent fishermen in our club and we are getting better all the time. It is hard to win tournaments in our club and with the increase in membership it is going to continue to get harder. This difficulty is what drives us to get better. We can no longer just show up on tournament morning and expect to win. We will have to work harder and put in more time and effort doing our “homework” before the tournament starts.

Although the weather started cold with some fog it was not long before the sun was up and the temps rose. It really felt like springtime by afternoon with temps in the 60s. The water temp rose 2-3 degrees in some areas and I saw 51 degree water for the first time since fall. The fish are just beginning to transition from winter to pre-spawn patterns. Some fish are still deep or suspended over deep points but there are some fish in shallow water at the mouths of spawning areas. I have noticed the slight change over the past few weeks and I have to admit that I am glad. I was getting tired of fishing deep and have been looking forward to catching some fish up in skinny water.

With our large turnout we were able to set records for the number of fish weighed and total weight. Of the 29 club members, 25 were able to bring fish to the scales for a total of 84 keepers and 120.66 pounds. 8 of our anglers were able to catch 5 fish limits.

Congratulations to Brian Anderson for the win and a really big limit of 16.03 pounds and for having the big fish of 6.02 pounds. He had an excellent day and should be proud of his results. (By the way, this is the 2nd year in a row that Mt. Island has produced a fish over 6lbs)

Congratulations to Tyger Elton for 2nd place with a very nice limit of 11.28 pounds.

Personal Tournament Summary: Angela and I had prefished Mt. Island on the Saturday before the tournament and had a really good day. She had some really nice fish on a jerkbait and I caught some on a worm. We were both looking forward to this tournament and felt we had an excellent chance of doing well. We started on a point that had produced some nice fish in practice and I was able to catch a couple of fish there but they were small keepers. We then ran up the lake to our 2nd spot and I was able to finish my limit. Angela could not seem to get bites. She did catch a keeper on our 2nd spot but that was the only keeper she could catch. I had a total of 9 keepers through out the day but they were not any thing close to the size of the fish we caught the week before. It was quite crowded on the lake and our bites just died after about noon. If I could fish it again, I believe I would have spent more time fishing boat docks. I caught a couple of my keepers off of docks but we did not spend much time fishing them later in day.

We are leaving on Tuesday to drive to Louisiana for Angela to fish her first LBAA tournament of the year at Caddo Lake. I knew she was disappointed with her performance at Mt. Island and she needed a confidence boost before she fished next weekend so we went to Norman on Sunday after church. It was exactly what she needed and she had an excellent afternoon. She caught several really nice fish and we had a total of 25 in just a few hours. I hope it gives her the confidence she needs to do well at Caddo.