North Augusta student anglers earn Lake Murray win

While most locals were focused on golf, members of North Augusta’s middle and high school fishing team were casting their way to victory on Lake Murray.


The team, part of the Youth Bass Fishing League formed through a parternship with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and The Bass Federation, swept the Saluda High School anglers with a team total of 41.33 pounds to 11.33 pounds during the April 4 tournament.

The North Augusta anglers included sixth graders Grayson Brandt (five fish totaling 11.36 pounds), Brad Wilson (three fish totaling 5.39 pounds) and Francis Bucio, whose single 5.05-pound fish also won the Big Fish Prize. The team also included 12th grader Kyle Shreve (five fish totaling 10.13 pounds).

Schools interested in forming a fishing club in South Carolina must recruit a minimum of six students 11 to 18 years old and have an adult school sponsor to help lead the Youth Bass Federation Club, provide advice and arrange tournaments, fundraisers, speakers and other learning sessions.

For more details, contact DNR Aquatic Education Coordinator Lorianne Riggin at (803) 737-8483 or

BEAR STUDIES: University of Georgia will use $701,000 in state grants to study the black bear population in middle Georgia, where 15 miles of highway will be widened as it passes through some of the region’s best bear habitat.

The joint project, headed by scientists in the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, will focus on evaluating the effects of widening State Route 96 on bear movements while also estimating the size of the population in several counties, assessing their survival rates and studying their reproductive patterns.

The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division committed $324,000 and the Georgia Department of Transportation is funding the research at $377,000. The joint project is expected to take three years.

As part of the research, black bears will be trapped, tagged for radio-telemetry tracking and identified by their DNA using hair samples, and their dens will be monitored.

Researchers are also investigating ways to minimize potential effects of the widening of state Route 96. Between 2003 and 2009, 10 of the 20 confirmed black bears killed by collisions with vehicles were along this stretch of road.

CRACKERNECK TO OPEN: Aiken County’s Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area will open to the public May 5, 12, 19 and 26 to allow scouting, fishing and other activities.

The area includes 10,470 acres owned by the U.S. Department of Energy along the Savannah River south of Jackson. Access is off Brown Road near U.S. Highway 125. To request a map, call (803) 725-3663 or e-mail



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