Costas takes Santee-Cooper

Lex Costas won the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, South Carolina Division 9 tournament, held March 12, 2011, on the Santee-Cooper lakes.

The Daniel Island angler landed only five bass, but that put him barely over the top with 25.09 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 7.13-pounder, adding $3,014 to his bank account.

“I started in the canal between the lakes and caught a couple fish on a medium-running crankbait,” Costas said. “I caught three more on a jig in the canal. The fish were really shallow and pushed up against the bank. I only caught five bass, about one every hour. That was enough.”

The boats ran out of the John C. Land III ramp in Summerton. They could fish anywhere in the sprawling 171,000-acre system. The largest lake in South Carolina Lake Marion covers about 110,000 acres on the Santee River. Lake Marion connects to Lake Moultrie, the third largest lake in South Carolina, through a 6.5-mile long diversion canal. Lake Moultrie covers 60,400 acres.

Close behind Costas, Wade Grooms of Bonneau landed a tournament limit of five bass going 25.02 pounds. He took home a check for $1,507.

“I caught some fish in the upper lake, but then went to the lower lake and culled everything I caught earlier,” Grooms said. “I mainly flipped grass with soft plastics. The type of bait didn’t matter as much as getting it in front of a fish.”

In third for the Boater Division, Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner landed five bass for 21.81 pounds with a 6.22-pound kicker. He left with $1,005 in his pocket.

“We caught fish all day,” Hutson said. “I caught some on a Rat-L-Trap early in the morning and then I fished brush piles with Texas rigs. Later in the day, I caught two off beds. We fished the upper lake most of the day, but fished the Texas rigs down in the lower lake.”

In fourth, Rodney Wrenn of Bonneau landed five bass weighing 21.04 pounds including a 6.25-pounder. Kenneth Ellis of Bowman rounded out the top five boaters with five bass for 19.33 pounds. Ralph Steve DeBord of Martinez, Ga., caught the division big bass, an 8.03-pound bucketmouth that fetched him $365.

“The fish hit at 8 a.m. when I was fishing a brown jig,” DeBord explained.

In the Co-Angler Division, Samuel Freeman of Irmo won with three bass tipping the scales at 12.89 pounds. He earned $1,462 for the effort.

“I caught two with a watermelon seed brush hog on a Carolina rig and one on a crankbait,” Freeman said. “I caught most of my fish around lunchtime and culled about three times.”

In second, Kameron Harbin of Abbeyville landed a division limit of three bass for 11.13 pounds to pocket $731. He fished a shaky head sweetened with a green pumpkin finesse worm trailer.

Alex N. Cribb of Hemingway brought in two bass weighing 10.49 pounds for third place to collect $487. However, one of them weighed 8.85 pounds, big enough to take lunker honors and another check for $173.

“I caught the big one on a green pumpkin lizard, fished on a Carolina rig first thing in the morning,” Cribb said.

In fourth for the co-anglers, Ryan Bowles of Pineville landed three bass going 9.62 pounds. Barry Descaro of Hilton Head took fifth among the co-anglers with three bass at 9.31 pounds.

For more information, call ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see About American Bass Anglers: The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series provides weekend anglers a professionally operated competitive tour with a path the world championship of bass fishing the Bassmaster Classic. American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers and the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series or the American Couples Series, visit

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