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South Carolina Angler, Team Take Lead At Southern Divisional

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South Carolina’s John Proctor caught 14 pounds, 8 ounces to lead Day 1 on the Pee Dee River Basin at the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional held out of Georgetown, S.C.

Photo Craig Lamb/B.A.S.S.

April 22, 2015

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South Carolina Angler, Team Take Lead At Southern Divisional

GEORGETOWN, S.C. — John Proctor has three advantages following the first day of the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional Wednesday.

Local knowledge, tidal fishing savvy and the first-day individual lead are the assets. Proctor’s limit weighed 14 pounds, 8 ounces, to give him a narrow lead in the tournament underway on the Pee Dee River Basin.

Basin is an understatement in size when compared to the fishable water available to the contestants from seven states. The tournament waters encompass 232 miles. Sheer size is where the second advantage is key in this tournament.

“There is a lot of water here, and that can be intimidating to a newcomer,” said Proctor, of nearby Conway, S.C. “What’s really key here, though, is reading the tide.”

Tidal bass tournaments hinge on the ebb and flow of the water. Timing is everything. A dry fishing area on low tide becomes nutrient rich when covered with water. You must plan to be on spot when the time comes.

“For me there are four good hours and the low tide is best,” the Conway Bassmasters member said.

That practically eliminates one-half of the fishing day. Anglers are due back beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET after departing the dock at 6:30 a.m.

Proctor made a 45-mile run to his area, claiming it was best prior to the rising tide. Traveling so far was a gamble that paid off. He targeted an area rich with spawning female bass. The result was the tournament’s biggest bass weighing 7-9.

“That was the plan, to catch a big female and then go fill my limit,” he said.

Thursday’s strategy calls for a change-up. Proctor abandoned the area after catching the lone bedding bass.

“It was a gamble that I don’t plan on making tomorrow,” he said. “I’m going for more of a quality bite all around and not just one kicker.”

He likely will need more than one big bass to hold off his competitors. Anyone in the Top 10 is within striking distance. Only 4 pounds separate Proctor from 10th-place angler Hayes Hudson.

Proctor and Bryan Gunter, the current runner-up, have South Carolina leading the team standings. The team’s cumulative weight is 106-7. Alabama is second with 93-3 and Georgia has 78-8 for third place. North Carolina is fourth with 78-7. Notably, all four states are home to tidal bass fisheries.

The winning state team is awarded a Triton 189 TrX rigged with Mercury outboard, Lowrance electronics and a MotorGuide trolling motor. The complete package is valued at $33,340.

The contestants from seven states qualified from their local bass clubs and state championships to be here at the B.A.S.S Nation Southern Divisional. Each team has 14 members. Two of the 14 members are high school anglers part of another competition underway here.

State championship high school teams are competing alongside the adults to hone their skills. Cumulative weight caught is added to the overall score of the state team. The winning team receives $500, with $250 going to the runner-up.

Each adult angler winning his state here advances to the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in the fall.

Takeoff Thursday, Day 2 of the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional, will take place at Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown at 6:30 a.m. The weigh-in will occur at the same location at 2:30 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-in for the final day of competition Friday will take place at the same times and location.

Visit Bassmaster.com for live daily coverage of the 2015 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional.

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