Bobby Peoples

A Berry’s Trail Tournament was held on Lake Sinclair with special COVID-19 rules that required social distancing at the launch ramp and during the weigh-in at the Dennis Station facility on Dennis Station Road. Contestants were told violations of any of the special rules would result in disqualification, and fortunately, none of the teams were disqualified.

Team members had to wear masks and were required to stay in their trucks or boats during the registration and weigh-in unless registering or weighing fish. Marking assured that anglers maintained social distance between other anglers. 

Maintaining distance requirements of 6 feet did not present problems during the actual tournament since most bass boats in the tournament were at least 17 feet, so maintaining distance between anglers while on the water was not a problem. Without the special rules put in place by the tournament director, the tournament would have been canceled.

Participation was down slightly and likely the COVID-19 virus was the reason for the lower turnout. One-hundred-one two-man teams competed and based on the total catch results; the tournament was off somewhat in total weighs. Most of the largemouth bass had already finished spawning on the April full moon and that was likely one problem for many anglers.

The 101 teams caught a total weight of a little more than 791 pounds, which averages out to 7.8 pounds per boat. That is certainly not good for a normal April Lake Sinclair tournament, but everything considered, it was a fair day. 

A few anglers always figure out the right pattern and what lures to use and where the hot spots are on the lake. The top-3 teams fished a variety of lures to catch their fish. Spinnerbaits, shaky heads, frogs and jigs were used by the top-3 teams to catch their fish.

Randy Bush from McDonough and Chad Barker caught a five-fish limit weighing 21.97 pounds to take top honors and take home $3,200. They used spinnerbaits and shaky heads to catch their fish.

Danny White from Milledgeville and Mike Blackshear from Macon used spinnerbaits and jigs to finish in second place with 19.91 pounds. They took home $$1,600 in prize money. Blackshear also caught the big bass of the tournament on an artificial frog and won an additional $1,010.

Finishing in third place with 16.86 pounds were Tony Curtis and Jeff Green from Jackson. They fished artificial frogs to win $1000.

The Berry’s Trail tournaments are evenly split between Lake Sinclair and Lake Oconee and they are nearing an end for this tournament year. The only remaining two tournaments on this year’s schedule of eight tournaments will be held on Lake Oconee on April 25 and May 2 at Sugar Creek Marina.

After those last two tournaments, a two-day Classic will be held on May 16 at Lake Oconee and May 17 at Lake Sinclair. A $5,000 payday awaits the winning team at the classic.

The COVID-19 virus has impacted just about everything in our daily lives but fishing is one activity that can be enjoyed during these shelter-in-place orders and many folks are doing just that. 

Good fishing and see you next week.     

Outdoors columnist Bobby Peoples can be reached at brpeoples995@gmail.com.

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