The University of South Carolina duo of Patrick Walters and Tyler All show off some of the bass they weighed in during the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Southern Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops at Winyah Bay, held last weekend in Georgetown. Walters and All won the regional. Submitted photo
With victory in sight, USC fishing crew caps tournament with big surprise
BY GREGG HOLSHOUSER
For The Sun News
No matter the sport, on field, water or court, finishing strong is the key to winning.
The University of South Carolina duo of Patrick Walters and Tyler All did just that last Saturday to capture first place in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Southern Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops at Winyah Bay.
Walters and All weighed an astonishing five-bass limit bag of 20 pounds, 11 ounces before a sizable final-day crowd at Georgetown’s Carroll Campbell Marine Complex to finish with a winning three-day total of 47 pounds, 14 ounces.
Walters and All, both from Summerville, found a hot spot in the North Santee River that was very productive for them all three days of fishing, and it produced a 7-pound, 6-ounce lunker that hit a hard jerkbait, capping the tourney on the final day.
“It was a river bend with a ditch mouth in it,” said Walters, who caught the win-clinching lunker. “(The fish) were set up on current breaks around there.”
With the lead in hand entering the final day, the duo were looking for a solid five-fish limit to secure the win.
“We knew we had to go out and finish strong to seal it,” said All. “When Patrick caught the 7-6 (around 10:30 a.m.) we were pretty elated. We already had a limit, and when we got the big fish in the boat, it was the icing on the cake.”
Walters added “We knew if we worked hard we could do it. We live only an hour-and-a half from Georgetown and that made it even more special.”
Jonathan Kelley and Max McQuaide of Coastal Carolina University were just 1 pound, 4 ounces off the pace set by Walters and All heading into the final day of fishing, but couldn’t overcome the Gamecock duo’s stellar finish and finished second.
Kelley and McQuaide fished an area 70 miles up the Pee Dee River and weighed in a final-day limit of 12-15 to finish with a three-day total of 38-14. They fished still-water lakes around cypress trees and laydowns using finesse worms and spinnerbaits.
“Going into the last day, we were just over a pound out but (Walters and All) had a really insane day, pulled away and took the win,” said Kelley. “The ultimate goal was to win but I was pleased with our showing. We expected about 36 pounds to win the tournament and we exceeded that goal.”
Kelley, of Old Forge, Pa., is a junior business management major at CCU while McQuaide hails from Tynzsboro, Mass., and is a freshman sociology major.
Both duos were impressed with the scene at the final weigh-in at the Campbell Marine Complex in Georgetown, which is a rising host venue for regional and even national bass and redfish tournaments.
“We were there to represent the Gamecocks,” said Walters. “There were about 200-300 people in the crowd and I’ll bet 100 of them were wearing Gamecock apparel. They were representing. Georgetown really went out of their way hand over foot (for the collegiate teams).”
The weigh-in crowd caught the Chanticleer duo’s eyes too.
“That was really an eye-opening event for us,” said Kelley. “To turn the corner on that last day to see that crowd was truly amazing. To have that at a college event was really something special.”
The field of 77 teams was trimmed to 20 on Saturday, with the top 13 teams qualifying for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops, to be held this summer at site to be determined.
Rounding out the top five teams were Noah Pescitelli and Sean Hall of the Savannah College of Art and Design (35-4) in third, Collin Smith and Ben Stone of Lander (34-5) in fourth and Rick Couch Jr. and John Kaufman of Central Florida (31-7) in fifth.
Another CCU duo, John Duarte and Chesley Alford, finished seventh overall with a weight of 28-14 to also qualify for the national championship.