Last Saturday dawned warm for mid-February – which has been the norm this winter – but a stiff wind greeted the anglers competing in the Student Angler League Tournament Trail (SALTT) event out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown.
Windy conditions aside, it was a record-breaking event for Coach Rayburn Poston and his trail, which features divisions for red drum and largemouth bass, with middle and high school anglers competing against each other.
“It was April conditions in February,” said Poston. “It was the most boats (26) we’ve ever had fish and the most boats we've ever had catch fish (15). I’m happy to see it growing.”
The majority of the anglers fishing in the Redfish Division left the Campbell Marine Complex, located on the Sampit River, and headed across Winyah Bay to fish North Inlet.
Middle school anglers finished at the top of the division, led by Ben Pardue and Charlie Holmes of Conway Middle School who brought two reds totaling six pounds to the weigh-in, including the biggest, a 4.24-pounder.
Kadyn Kellahan of Rosemary Middle School fished solo but claimed second with two reds totaling 3.77 pounds.
Henry Poston of Academy of Arts, Science and Technology and Benjamin Biddle of Blackwater Middle School teamed to finish third with two reds weighing 3.16 pounds.
Conway Middle School’s Ashton Rouhselang and Fisher Anderson took fourth place with one redfish weighing 2.12 pounds.
Bass action was better, with the anglers heading up the Waccamaw, Pee Dee or Black rivers to find their largemouth.
The Conway High School duo of Blake Thompson and River Squires claimed first place with a five-fish aggregate of 10.46 pounds. Whittemore Park Middle School’s Austin Winburn and Cooper Harrelson were second with five bass weighing 10.04 pounds.
Ben Cooper and Todd Howard of Conway High School weighed in four bass at 8.13 pounds to finish third. Conway Christian School’s Will and Trent Hucks were fourth with three bass at 5.65 pounds. Rounding out the top five were Allen and Colton Ledford of Forestbrook Middle School with three bass at 4.29 pounds.
Other anglers weighing in bass included:
▪ 6th Place: Asher Damon (Waccamaw High School) and Walker Todd (Socastee High School); three bass, 4.12 pounds.
▪ 7th Place: Mackenley Hucks (Conway High School) and Chandler Brown (Conway Middle School); two bass, 2.73 pounds.
▪ 8th Place: Gabe Brown (Aynor High School) and Stephen Smith (Academy for Technology and Academics); two bass, 1.94 pounds.
▪ 9th Place: Reid Richardson and Caleb Droll, Conway Christian School; one bass, 1.79 pounds.
▪ 10th Place: Gage Fortson and Jacob Richardson, Conway High School; one bass, 1.32 pounds.
▪ 11th Place: Bennet Lawshe, Georgetown High School; one bass, 1.23 pounds.
All fish caught during SALTT tournaments are released after the weigh-in.
The next two SALTT tournaments will be held Feb. 25 and March 11, which will conclude the series for the 2016-17 school year. All SALTT events are held out of the Campbell Marine Complex.
For more information, visit www.salttfishing.com.