Hite wins tournament, Bainbridge, Lake Seminole win attentionPublished 11:05pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Bainbridge was hit by a heavy thunderstorm Sunday afternoon, but that didn’t stop the Bassmaster Elite Series from concluding at the Earle May Boat Basin. It only cut it just a little short.
Anglers came in for the final weigh-in at 1 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. because the severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in the area.
Brett Hite walked away with the grand prize, weighing in a four-day total of 97 pounds, 10 ounces. His margin of victory was 13 pounds heavier than the second place Todd Faircloth with 84 pounds, 10 ounces. Hite’s prize is $100,000 and an automatic berth in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell, S.C.
“I’m pretty excited because Lake Hartwell is one of my favorite lakes,” Hite said to B.A.S.S. reporter Deb Johnson after his win. “Going into this season, getting to Lake Hartwell was a goal. But I’m still going into the rest of the season by putting my head down and practicing hard and fishing hard.”
Falling in third place was Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., with 80 pounds, nine ounces. Fourth place was captured by 2004 Bassmaster Classic champion Takahiro Omori of Emory, Texas, with a total weight of 78 pounds, 4 ounces. Finishing fifth was Kevin Short of Mayflower, Ark., with 76 pounds, 6 ounces.
Hite spent most of the tournament chasing after female pre-spawn roaming through the grassy banks of the main river on Lake Seminole. Day four ended early, but it ended well for Hite when he hooked a 7 pound, 13 ounce behemoth to lock him in for the win.
“I set the hook, and I was thinking, ‘Man, I hope this isn’t a tree,’” Hite said to Johnson. “Then I saw my line coming toward me. It was the biggest fish I’d caught all week, and it came at the right time. It was pretty special. I just knew that was the dagger.”
With 26,000 attendees over a three-day period, River Town Days co-manager Adrienne Harrison said she was amazed by the great turnout and working relationship she developed with B.A.S.S.
“I am just ecstatic about the exposure we got not just from B.A.S.S. and local news and newspapers, but you think about all the anglers using social media talking about how great the lake and community is,” Harrison said. “I’m surprised and happy about it.”
Harrison said she enjoyed working with the professional anglers who want to leave the community in a better condition than when they arrived.
Bass fishing fans in Decatur County looking for their next tournament fix will have to wait until October for the Lake Seminole Open. But Harrison said the exposure given to Bainbridge through River Town Days and the Bassmaster Elite Series could make it possible for more in the future.
“Nothing is better than word of mouth from these anglers,” Harrison said.