Outdoors: High Rock winners: Barham, Ohlson
By Mike Sides
HIGH ROCK LAKE — The first event of the Fishers of Men 2011 Regional Championship Series ended Sunday with most of the top five leaping in the standings from as far back as 29th place.
In all, 335 bass were recorded, weighing 803.19 pounds, which included 42 limits of five fish each, for a two-day total of 809 fish weighing 1,906.21 pounds. The average weight per fish was 2.36 pounds.
Organizers congratulated North Carolina Central competitors, Tony Barham and Rick Ohlson, who clinched the FOM East Regional Championship by hauling in an additional 16.54 pounds for a two-day total of 31.11 pounds. Barham and Ohlson earned a new 2011 Skeeter ZX-190 boat with a 150 hp Yamaha engine in a package valued at more than $35,000.
They also collected Bonus Bucks and a $500 reward from the Power-Pole Captains Cash Program.
The new champions focused their efforts on two locations each day. They targeted fixed and floating docks in Abbots Creek and the Flat Swamp area with brown jigs and green-pumpkin craw trailers.
Sunday’s first Big Fish weighed 7.49 pounds, winning $450, and was caught with a chartreuse-white spinnerbait. It had tried to eat a smaller bass that Ohlson had hooked on Friday while he was reeling it to the boat.
With the crazy weather, Ohlson said fish were taken between 10 a.m. and noon on day one and Sunday’s big bag was boated within the first hour of fishing. The new champs specifically targeted bigger fish with their large jigs and, as a result, only culled fish once each day.
Moving all the way up from 18th to place second overall with 29.15 pounds was the Virginia West team of Scott Mozingo and James Plessinger. They boated 15.90 pounds Sunday, including a 6-pound kicker, for a tournament total of 29.15 pounds.
Mozingo and Plessinger worked half-ounce green-pumpkin Seaduction jigs among submerged natural rock formations in 5 to 15 feet of water in the Flat Creek area.
Mozingo said the fish would hit jigs as they fell in deeper water during sunny periods and that they would have to work them along the shallow bottom during shady times.
Bo Russell and Tony Lambert, North Carolina Piedmont, delivered consistent catches of 14.30 pounds and 14.32 pounds for a two-day total of 28.62 pounds and a third-place finish. The pair fished shallow water around brush and piers with jigs and worms.
North Carolina Central teammates, Todd Rich and Todd Durham, vaulted all the way up from 29th to finish fourth with 28.24 pounds. Durham said that they worked worms and jigs in the Flat Creek area both days. Their first-day limit was netted within one hour after the sun came out on Friday afternoon and Sunday’s 16.29 pounds, including the 6.12 pound second-place Big Fish was caught before 9 a.m. The fish earned them $300.
Fifth-place finishers, Tom Foster and David Gardner, North Carolina East, worked docks all across the lake with 6-inch black and blue Texas-rigged worms in order to get 10 keepers that went 27.44 pounds. Foster said he and Gardner culled through 15 bass that bit during the last two hours of day one and that fishing was also slow Sunday with six keepers in the boat by 1 pm.
The top-10 teams by weight and the highest placing team from each division, not already qualified, along with the highest finishing Adult-Youth team, Steve and Bradley Singleton from NC Piedmont, and highest-finishing male-female team, Tony and Penny McCraw from the Virginia West Division, will advance to the 2012 National Championship that will be held April 12, 13, & 14 on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., where competitors will vie for a 2012 Skeeter 21FX, powered by a Yamaha 250 SHO 4-stroke motor. The prize is valued at more than $72,000.
The seven local teams who made the National Championships are: (1) Tony Lambert and Bo Russell; (2) Willie Davis and Billie Wright; (3) Dean Collins and Ray Furr; (4) Steve Sink and Robert Mixon; (5) Tommy Jones and Kenny Seagle; (6) Singleton and Bradley Singleton; and (7) Kenneth and John Shumate.
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