Day One Begins on Santee Cooper Lakes

Let's kick things off in the Carolinas on Santee Cooper Lakes.

Story by Justin Brouillard | Photos by Tanner & Travis Lyons

Hosted by Clarendon County, SC, stop number three could be yet another tough event despite high hopes from anglers leading up. With the bass in the post-spawn phase mainly, and fish being reported from shallow to offshore, the event could see big weights by anglers one day and substantially less on the other days. The winner of this event will surely find a pattern where they can capitalize on five to six bites a day with a mix of quality. 

Will Harkins was one angler who cautiously had a decent practice. Harkins hardly set the hook but shook off a good number of bites per day.

“Practice was a real grind, but I did have a fair number of bites,” he said. “The couple times I set the hook, it was decent quality. I felt good about it, but things are changing.”

Harkins expects a very top-heavy event with some really big bags and then several anglers without limits each day. He is catching fish all over the lake from grass, trees, offshore timber, docks, and in between.

“You will probably see guys doing different things with success,” he added. “The one wild card will be the wind. I think we’re looking at over 20-pounds a day to get the win, with 12-pounds a day to get a check

Barron Adams echoed Harkins, and he too hopes to put five in the boat each day and let the chips fall where they fall. He believes some anglers will have a monster day mixed in but will not be able to back it up with good weights the other two days. 

“We will see changes in the leaderboard every day with guys catching single digits one day and then a big bag the next and jumping into the top,” he said. “It is going to come down to whoever can be consistent and capitalize on the bites. I am guessing 58 pounds gets it done.”

What’s it going to take?

Leaders in the Progressive Angler of the Year race as well as local anglers all reported a tough practice. 

Brandon Perkins – “Practice was brutal for me; I know the big ones live here but I did not locate them at all. I am going to hunker down in an area I got a couple of bites and try to grind each day. I think 66 pounds will win, but only 33 pounds will get a check.”

Trent Palmer – “Practice was tough, but when I got bit it was a quality fish, better than average. The lake has changed a lot since I was last here in 2019, but I expanded on what I knew back then and located areas fish are moving to this week. I think 21 to 22 pounds a day will win, and 12 pounds a day gets a check.

Reagan Nelson – “My first day was good but the last two days were not good. I think around 20 pounds per day will win, but the wind will certainly play a huge factor on the last two days; the weights could drop off.”

Landon Tucker – “I feel like practice was decent and I was able to get some bites. If I can put the ones that bite in the boat it could be good. Depending on the weather, which could shorten the event, I think we might be looking at 65 pounds plus to win.”

Jason Wilson – “It was probably the worst practice I have ever had; I only got a few bites each day but this lake has the big ones and I think it will take over 20 pounds a day to win.”

John Cox (GA) – “It’s been a super tough practice but we all know what lives in here. I think 21 pounds a day could win and around 10 pounds to get a check.”

Weather Watch 

Anglers can expect changing weather throughout the event, with the wind being the wild card. Day one should bring sunny weather with increasing clouds in the afternoon. Takeoff is around 55 degrees and highs will creep into the upper 70s as the day goes on. Winds on the day are expected to blow NE at 10 to 20 MPH. Higher winds are expected for days two and three.

How to Watch

Tune in daily from May 25 through 27 to watch daily action from Santee Cooper Lakes, with Bonus Live Coverage here and on the FREE PHYX TV App beginning this morning from 8 AM to 1 PM on day one. 

Follow along and watch the daily LIVE Leaderboard, LIVE Blog, and on-the-water photo galleries and blogs of the anglers on Santee Cooper Lakes.

Under the Go Live Tab, choose LIVE Broadcast or check out the real-time leaderboard on the Weigh Live Tracker with estimated weights entered by the anglers on the water and join us for the LIVE Weigh-ins.

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