LAKE OCONEE —
Colder and rainy weather preceded the Berry's Trail tournament that was held on Lake Sinclair Jan. 5, and the fish had near lockjaw. One hundred twenty-nine teams arrived at Little River Park to fish the second tournament of eight that comprise the 2012-2013 Berry's Tournament Trail.
Back when the first tournament of the season was held in December, five-fish limits were the order of the day as just about everybody caught fish. The second tournament of the season was totally different as only 44 teams were able to bring five-fish limits to the weigh scales and only a total of 379 fish were caught.
The colder weather and heavy rain that preceded the tournament made the bite very hard to come by for most anglers. However, as always some anglers were able to catch some good fish regardless of conditions. During the first tournament in December, the tournament anglers caught fish on just about every lure possible but at this second tournament the lures that were effective were very limited.
Only jigs, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits were able to fool most of the bass and in fact those three baits were used by the top three teams to catch all their largemouth bass. Medium water depths of 4 to 12 feet produced the most fish. Those 379 fish that were fooled into biting on this difficult day of angling weighed 686.7 pounds which averaged out to 1.8 pounds per fish.
The winning team of David Lowery from Milledgeville and Hilbert Lowery from Columbus had an excellent five-fish limit that weighed 18.38 pounds. The fact that one of David Lowery's fish weighed 7.70 pounds helped and allowed the team to take home a check for $3,740 for their first place finish and then a check for $1,290 for the big fish of the tournament. The Lowery boys caught their fish using jigs and spinnerbaits.
Finishing in second place with 16.78 pounds was Rick Gasaway and David Millsap from Ranger. They took home $1,870 and used crankbaits and jigs to catch their fish. Rounding out the top three places with 15.47 pounds and taking home a check for more than $1,170 was Jim Windham from Bonaire and Greg Barwick from Dublin. Windham and Barwick caught their fish using crankbaits.
The tournament was the second of eight regular season tournaments conducted by the Berry's Tournament Trail on Lake Sinclair and Lake Oconee. Berry's Tournament Trail is the top tournament trail in middle Georgia and this past Saturday it continued to prove just how popular the trail is to anglers. Even bad conditions and a slow bite can't keep the anglers away from this tournament trail.
The third tournament of the season for the Berry's Trail will be held at Lake Oconee and Sugar Creek Marina Feb. 16. Future dates for tournaments on Lake Oconee are March 9, April 13 and May 18 and on Lake Sinclair they are March 30 and April 27.
Anglers who register and compete in at least five regular tournaments will qualify for the season ending two-day classic that has a potential $10,000 payday for the winners. Anglers can also choose to just fish individual tournaments and compete for prizes in those individual tournaments which pay anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 depending on the number of anglers.
If you are interested in fishing competition with other anglers, you can contact Berry's Trail tournament director Bobby Berry by phone at (770) 787-6179 or go to www.berrysbass.com.
Next week we will take a look at fishing the drop shot rig for a variety of wintertime fish. Good fishing and see you next week.
Outdoor Columnist Bobby Peoples can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.