The fall portion of the 2018-19 Student Angler League Tournament Trail has been a challenging one for the middle and high school anglers targeting red drum and largemouth bass.
The trail, dubbed SALTT, features three tournaments each semester of the school year with each staged out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex on the Sampit River in Georgetown.
Tropical systems and cold fronts are frequent obstacles to fishermen along the South Carolina coast in autumn, and the young anglers have gotten a full dose this semester.
The Fifth annual SALTT series began with the first tournament on Oct. 20 in rainy and windy conditions. The opener was originally scheduled for Sept. 15 but was postponed by Hurricane Florence.
The second and third events of the semester were staged as fronts moved through the area.
“I’ve been very impressed this year, with the worst-case scenario we’ve had weather-wise, the kids’ attitude dealing with it and still catching fish has been phenomenal,” said SALTT founder and director Rayburn Poston.
The final trail of the semester was held last Dec. 1 with a front packing plenty of rain approaching. Poston made the call to shorten the event, moving weigh-in from 3 p.m. to noon and forcing the anglers to plan fishing around a low tide.
Despite the limited fishing time, numerous quality fish were weighed in.
The Andrews team of Dylan Skippper and Walker McKenzie won the High School Redfish Division with two fish weighing an aggregate of 4.40 pounds, including a 2.33-pounder. No other teams in the division weighed in fish.
Cubby Weaver of Coastal Montessori Charter School, fishing solo, won the Middle School Redfish Division with two fish weighing 8.47 pounds, including the big fish of the division, a 4.58-pounder. Chappell Miller and Owen Powell from Georgetown Middle School finished second with 6.83 pounds. Third place went to Donavan Harris of Conway Middle School and Wyatt Moore of Whittemore Park Middle School with 6.77 pounds.
Conway’s Jacob Martin fished solo and won the High School Bass Division with two fish weighing 5.59 pounds, including the division’s big fish, a 2.92-pounder. Georgetown’s Andrew Ackerman and Jeremy Owens took second with 4.10 pounds while brothers Charlie and Chase Holmes of Conway finished third with one fish at 1.48 pounds.
The Middle School Bass Division was won by Loris Middle School’s Gavin Porter with one fish at 2.08 pounds. Rosemary Middle School’s Keegan Wildeswith was second with one fish at .96 pounds.
This fall the SALTT had 22 schools and over 100 anglers from five counties compete on the trail.
The three SALTT events in the 2019 spring semester are set for Feb. 16, March 16 and March 30.
For more information, visit www.SALTTFishing.com or contact Poston at 843-902-4274.
• Speckled Studs Tournament: The tournament, coordinated by Capt. Dan Connolly of O-Fish-Al Expeditions in Murrells Inlet, will be held Saturday. Connolly noted 15 percent of the proceeds and all of the raffle funds raised will be donated to the SALTT. For more information on the tournament, call 843-241-7022.