Fishing & Boating News
Hogan caught a five-bass limit on Friday that totaled 15 pounds, 9 ounces. That limit, his third in the three-day tournament, gave him a 31-15 total and a victory in the boater division of the final B.A.S.S. Nation regional of the year.
Hogan earned $6,000 for the win. He bested 172 other boaters from 17 states in the eastern U.S. and the Canadian province of Ontario for the individual title. He also won a spot in the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan Outdoors. That tournament will be held later this year on a date and fishery to be announced.
It was a lot for the 50-year-old Milford resident to absorb.
“I’m really emotional right now,” Hogan said. “I’m doing what I can to hold it back.”
He did everything but hold it back, however, on the Winyah Bay system in this week’s regional. Scorching temperatures near 100 degrees and inexperience with fishing tidal systems hampered the bite for much of the field, but Hogan consistently improved as the tournament advanced.
Hogan caught a 7-5 limit on Day 1, which was nearly 7 pounds behind Florida’s Dave Turner, who led the first two days of the tournament.
Hogan chipped into Turner’s lead with a 9-1 limit on Thursday, and he blew past him on Friday with the tournament’s big bag. Hogan’s limit was anchored by a 5-4 lunker that was only 1 ounce shy of the Big Bass of the week.
The key to his upswing, Hogan said, was switching to a Senko worm on Friday. He also got out of creek mouths and hunkered down in the back of a pond off the Waccamaw River.
“It was a Gary Yamamoto black and blue laminate worm I went to,” he said. “I was in about 2 or 3 feet of water. Where I was at, there wasn’t much tide going on. Actually it was high water. Knowing tidal situations like I do living in Delaware, something told me to just try that Senko. I’m glad I did.”
Hogan has represented Delaware in numerous regionals through the years, but this will be his first trip to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. He said after Delaware finished second in the team standings at last year’s Eastern Regional on the Upper Chesapeake Bay, winning both team and individual honors this year is very special.
“I joined the Tidewater Bass Club back in 1999,” Hogan said. “All those guys are really good sticks. If it wasn’t for them being really competitive, I probably wouldn’t be here. You have to get better to fish with them.”
Turner finished second among boaters with a 30-3 total over three days. Norman Mullinax of North Carolina was third with 29-2.
Georgetown resident Gary Pope led the nonboater field from start to finish. He caught three-bass limits each day and had nine bass that totaled 17-6. That earned him a $3,000 top prize and a spot in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. This will mark his second trip to nationals.
Pope also threw Senko worms throughout the tournament, except his choice was a green/white combo he pitched to structure. He threw a blue crawfish lure he custom makes, as well.
Unlike Hogan, Pope started the tournament fast and had to hang onto his lead. His best bag came on Wednesday when caught three bass that weighed 10-4. His catch slipped to 3-9 on both Days 2 and 3, but it was enough to win.
“Knowing the right time, the right place and the right things helped me make some decent situations,” Pope said. “It’s great to win here at home. I work right here at the paper mill. Everyone has been really supportive. It’s been a great experience.”
Stacey Proctor Jefferson of nearby Conway finished second with 15-13. Jimmy Myers of Delaware was third in the nonboater division with a 15-12 total.
An additional 173 nonboaters competed in the regional.
The leading boater and nonboater from each of the 18 competing teams earned a berth in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
The Big Bass Award of $500 went to Pennsylvania’s Brad Bressler, who caught a 5-5 bass on Thursday. Virginia’s Travis Lugar earned $250 for the 5-1 bass he boated in the nonboater division.
In all, $89,900 in cash and prizes was awarded in the regional.
Georgetown County hosted the event.
2018 B.A.S.S. Nation Title Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors
2018 B.A.S.S. Nation Presenting Sponsor: Magellan Outdoors
2018 B.A.S.S. Nation Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2018 B.A.S.S. Nation Premier Sponsors: Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole
2018 B.A.S.S. Nation Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Nationwide, Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Carhartt, Livingston Lures
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