Holme’s belief paid off

William Holmes

Local pro William Holmes believes in Lake Moultrie’s potential — even when it takes a while to develop. That belief has positioned Holmes well at the St. Croix Bassmaster Open at Santee Cooper Lakes presented by SEVIIN.

As noted in the Day 1 tournament report, Holmes caught his second-place bag of 27-13 in a spot where he found only one 5-pounder in practice. Prior to the event, the lake wasn’t quite ready, but trusting in what his experience has taught him, Holmes bet on the lower lake and ended up near the top of the standings.

“I’m a local and I did most of my practice on the Lower Lake,” Holmes said. “Most everybody in this tournament gave up on the lower lake, but the big mamas showed up (Thursday) morning.”

Holmes’ faith was rewarded with a quick flurry that delivered his entire weight within 45 minutes of starting.

“For the last four or five years, for whatever reason, the Lower Lake (Moultrie) has been a lot tougher than the Upper Lake (Marion),” he said. “In the Upper Lake, with the cypress trees and the little ponds, the fish usually go to the bank first. The Lower Lake’s always last.

“I fished all around that lake in practice and I had three spots where I thought I could catch ‘em. Everyone else gave up on that lake.”

Holmes did not and now he’s in good position to make the Championship Saturday cut.

Getting Right: After placing sixth on Day 1 with 26-6, Georgia’s Parker Guy said he’s excited about what Day 2 might offer. That’s because he found a key development amid Wednesday’s heavy downpours.

“I’ve been here since the beginning of practice and I was only getting two or three bites a day,” Guy said. “I braved the rain (on the last day of practice), I went into an area and started getting bites doing something that I hadn’t done all week.

“I went in there (the morning of Day 1), there were some fish in there and got some pretty big ones to bite and that settled me down and allowed me to pick apart the area. Every time I swung the bat, it was one of those big ones.”

Guy, who was chosen for 2019 Bassmaster High School All American Fishing Team, said his pattern is based on a specific structural element. Switching to a slow presentation was the key.

“Pretty much the whole week, I’d been throwing moving baits —spinnerbait, Chatterbait, stuff like that — but I started fishing a Senko and slowing down,” Guy said. “I think there are fish moving in there and I think they’ll continue to move in. We’re gonna see.”

Big Profile: Ninth place Laker Howell stands 6-foot-5, but his height wasn’t the only big profile he brought to Lake Marion. Throwing a ChatterBait most of Day 1, the Alabama pro used a Yamamoto Zako trailer — a plump plastic swimbait with aggressive action and significant water displacement. As Howell explained, this helped his bait attract attention in the stained water.

Howell anchored his Day-1 bag with a 6-1.

Day 1 Notables: The opening round yielded 49 bags over 20 pounds. Ten anglers broke the 25-pound mark.

Bassmaster Elite Scott Martin, who notched a record-setting wire-to-wire victory at the St. Croix Bassmaster Open at Lake Okeechobee presented by SEVIIN (Feb. 1-3), placed tenth with 25-4.