Berry’s Fall Tournament Trail on Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair will conclude today, Nov. 16 on Lake Sinclair but Berry’s Tournament Trail is getting ready for their regular tournament season that begins in early December 2019 and runs till the middle of May, 2020. The beginning of 2020 is still over a month away but the tournament fishing season on Lake Sinclair and Lake Oconee is about to get underway. 

Berry’s Tournament Trail on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee began back in 2003 and has grown to be one of the best if not the best tournament fishing trail in Georgia. Tournament anglers flock to this trail in large numbers due primarily to the family organization that operates the trail. Bobby Berry and members of his family operate and run all facets of the trail and do so in a very professional but friendly way.

Bobby’s father and mother initially operated a boat dock at Lake Jackson back in 1941 and the facility was known as Johnny Berry’s Boat Dock. Bobby’s father Johnny Berry sold creek minnows and snacks at the dock and trapped mink and muskrat and sold their hides. The family moved to the present site of Berry’s Marina on Lake Jackson in 1949.

Bobby retired in 2000 from his fulltime job of thirty-seven years and began building docks along with operating fishing tournaments out of the family marina. With more time on his hands and looking for more income, Bobby began the Berry’s Tournament Trail on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee in 2003. 

You could say that the family atmosphere of the tournament operations is a little laid back and personal and that chemistry seems to work with tournament anglers. “We are just country folks,” said Bobby. “We try to create a friendship with all the anglers and their families. I guess you could say we try to create a country boy atmosphere at our tournaments. When we hold our annual two-day classic, we feed everybody and it is just like holding a big family reunion.”    

You likely will find Bobby walking around the weigh-in site on tournament day just talking with anglers about not only about their fishing success but just staying in touch with each angler’s family and life events. Bobby can call almost all the names of the tournament anglers on tournament day from visual recognition and on any given tournament day, you might be referring to over 150 anglers.

You can see the appreciation for Bobby from the tournament anglers. He is also concerned when anglers have difficulties that may arise in their individual lives and he will often hold and work benefit tournaments for those in need financially. Just about any good cause will elicit help from the Berry family tournament team.

Bobby and I have talked over the years and he told me many stories about growing up and those stories could surely fill a book. We have many similar stories about our youth and many of those stories were about family, the cotton patch, Roy Rogers and baseball cards. We reminisced that if we had managed to keep all those Roy Rogers comic books and Mickey Mantle baseball cards and sale them today, we would be very rich.

We agreed that most of those things that would be considered antiques today likely ended up in the garbage dump. No one realized the future value of a Mickey Mantle baseball card or a Roy Rogers cap pistol or comic book. We either wore the things out or just let them slip away. I have purchased a few of the original Roy Rogers comic books recently and I can assure you that I had to pay a lot more than the original price of 10 cents a copy. 

The Berry’s Tournament Trail schedule includes four tournaments on Lake Sinclair out of Dennis Station Access and four tournaments on Lake Oconee out of Sugar Creek Marina. The tournaments on Lake Oconee will be held on Jan. 4, Mar. 7, Apr. 4 and May 2. The tournaments on Lake Sinclair will be held on Dec. 7, Feb. 1, Mar. 21, and Apr. 18. 

The season will conclude with a two-day Classic event on May 16 at Lake Oconee and on May 17 at Lake Sinclair. The Classic champion can take home $10,000. For additional information about the Berry’s Tournament Trail including registration forms and rules go to www.berrysbass.com or call 770-787-6179.Good fishing and see you next week.

Outdoor columnist, Bobby Peoples can be contacted via e-mail at brpeoples995@gmail.com.

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