MANNING, S.C. — Terry Scroggins of San Mateo, Fla., took 18 pounds, 3 ounces of largemouth bass from Santee Cooper Reservoir on Saturday, boosting his three-day total to 50-11 for a come-from-behind win in the second event of the Bassmaster Southern Open circuit.
The Bassmaster Elite Series pro bested fellow Elite Series pro Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, who secured second place with a three-day total of 47-4.
Scroggins, a four-time BASS winner, has been on fire this year. His 2007 finishes include seventh place at the Bassmaster Classic in February, a win at the season-opening Bassmaster Southern Open event on Florida's Lake Kissimmee in March, and a fourth-place finish in late April at the Bassmaster Elite Series Southern Challenge on Alabama's Lake Guntersville.
His prize Saturday was $6,000 in cash and a Triton/Mercury rig valued at $50,000.
A four-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, Scroggins moved up steadily in the standings each of the event's three days. He jumped from 16th place on Day 1 to fourth on Day 2 before taking over Saturday's leaderboard. He posted five-fish limits all three days.
"The big key this week was to not fish the same area twice," said Scroggins.
"I used one rod all day long and started fishing around cypress trees. That's all I did."
Scroggins said he hit about 10 locations Saturday, all in water 2 to 4 feet deep. He said his main lure was a Yum Houdini worm.
When asked to evaluate his chances for a follow-up win in the final Bassmaster Southern Open on Alabama's Lake Wheeler, Oct. 18-20, the 38-year-old pro replied with a grin, "I've done well in Tennessee River events in the past, so we'll see what happens."
Hartley said that Friday he hit on a successful pattern — dead-sticking soft plastics in water 1 to 2 feet deep — and went back to it Saturday.
"I dreamed all my life of going to the Bassmaster Classic," said Hartley. "I knew when I started the Opens that I needed nine good days of fishing.
"Now I've gotten six out of the way and I only have three more to go," added Hartley, referring to the fact that each Open is a three-day event.
Like other Bassmaster Southern Open pros, Hartley gained points through the Santee Cooper event that go toward qualifying for next year's Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic and is currently second. At the end of the season, the top three Southern Open pros will qualify for the 2008 Bassmaster Classic, while the top five will be eligible in 2008 to fish the upper echelon of competition, the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Kenneth Ellis of Bowman, S.C., finished third, thanks to a Day 3 weight of 17 pounds, 5 ounces that brought his total weight to 46-11. A guide on Santee Cooper, Ellis said he targeted stumps and cypress trees in water 2 to 3 1/2 feet deep with a Senko and trick worm.
Tifton, Ga.'s Clint Brownlee finished fourth with 45-4. Rounding out the top five was Lex Costas of Charleston, S.C., with 44-15.
First-day leader Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., brought in a 7-11 lunker on Saturday for a Purolator Big Bass bonus of $1,000.
The Purolator Big Bass of Tournament award was won by Terry Bloom of Groveland, Fla., for the 8-8 bass he brought to the scales on Friday.
In the co-angler division, the winner of $2,000 in cash and a Triton/Mercury boat rig valued at $32,000 was Fred Hood of Monroe, Ga., who finished with 28-8.
"I'm in shock," said the 41-year-old plumber of his first BASS win. He added that he had never before fished Santee Cooper. "This is a lifetime dream for anyone who gets in a bass boat. It hasn't really sunk in yet. I'm overwhelmed."
Hood said he caught most of his bass on spinnerbaits, Senko plastics, and a Zoom trick worm.
Lee Davis of Fitzgerald, Ga., finished second with 25-11. Third was Wayne Morgan of Tifton, Ga., with 23-10. Mike Prance of Palatka, Fla., was fourth with 20-03. Michael Wilson of Oxford, Fla., rounded out the top five with a weight of 18-14.
The third and final 2007 Southern Open competition will take place Oct. 18-20 on Lake Wheeler and Decatur, Ala.