Berry’s Tournament Trail visited Sugar Creek Marina and Lake Oconee on Saturday, Feb. 7 and was greeted with great weather and a pretty good fishing tournament.

There were 152 two-man teams that entered the tournament but only 14 of those teams managed to bring a five-fish limit to the scales.

Fishing had been tough in the days leading up to the tournament and those tough fishing conditions continued for most anglers even though the weather was outstanding. Some anglers always come up with a plan to catch fish and then execute that plan to perfection on tournament day. Just slightly over one pound separated the first and second place teams and those two teams had completely different plans and techniques for catching their fish.

The team of Will Hamrick and Neil Harmon from Eatonton caught a five-fish limit that weighed 19.93 pounds to finish in first place. The pair of anglers caught their fish on black/blue jigs in 8 feet of water to win the first place prize of $4,180. Not bad for one day of fishing.

The second place prize of $2,090 went to the two-man team of Shawn Malcolm from Monroe and Jeremy York from Loganville. Their catch totaled 18.69 pounds and they caught their fish casting spinnerbaits in 3 feet of water at the mouths of coves to catch their five-fish limit.

Van Dillard from Eatonton and Trae Renfroe from Milledgeville finished in third place with a five-fish limit weighing 15.76 pounds and the pair of anglers took home $1,300 in prize money. They used jigs and small crankbaits around boat docks to catch their fish.

The big fish of the day was caught by Mark Kersey from Hampton using a Carolina Rig. That one fish weighed 7.70 pounds and earned Kersey $1,520. Overall the 152 two-man teams caught 220 fish that weighed 552.99 pounds.

Berry’s Tournament Trail is the premier competitive fishing trail on Lakes Oconee and Sinclair. The trail has gained in popularity with anglers while other trails have suffered low participation. Much of that success can be traced to the Berry family that owns and runs the tournaments with honesty, courtesy and professionalism.

The Berry Tournament Trail has a total of eight regular tournaments that are split evenly between Lakes Oconee and Sinclair. At the conclusion of the eight regular tournaments, the trail holds a two-day classic that is also split between the two lakes. Classic anglers fish Lake Oconee one day and Lake Sinclair the second day with the combined weight from the two days determining the classic winner.

Remaining regular tournaments are on Lake Sinclair on April 4 and May 30 and on Lake Oconee March 7, April 18 and May 9. The two-day classic will be held on June 13-14. If you are interested in competing in this tournament trail, you can contact Bobby Berry at 770-787-6179. Entry forms can also be picked up at Little River Park on Lake Sinclair or at Sugar Creek Marina on Lake Oconee.

For additional information about Berry’s Tournament Trail, check out their Web site at Good fishing and see you next week.

Outdoors columnist Bobby Peoples can be reached via e-mail at

React to this story:


This Week's Circulars