America’s Bass Fishing Team runner-up to South Africans



The American elite bass fishing team had to be content with second place behind South Africa in the 13th Black Bass World Championships on the Vaal River last weekend.

The South African team, dressed in its country’s green and gold, had been runner-up the last two tournaments held in Italy and Portugal, respectively. Now it has bragging rights until the next time.

Third was the Italian team, followed by top-10 finishers Spain, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Germany, Swaziland and Mexico.

The U.S. team came to Africa armed with a wealth of Vaal River knowledge, thanks to team manager Lionel Botha, a South African-born professional angler. He spent many days on the Vaal honing skills that later carried him to America.

Fishermen targeted bass that spawned in areas not affected by silt, with the preferred areas gravel beds washed free of the mud by boat wakes.

South Africa team captain Justy Varkevisser is considered to be the best bass angler in his nation. He’ll also compete in the B.A.S.S. Nation event coming up on Lake Hartwell and later in the Costa FLW Series championship on Kentucky Lake next month.

The U.S. team is sponsored by the Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Bureau.

The 2018 World Championship will be held in Mexico, the 2019 in South Africa and the 2020 will be on Lake Murray near Columbia. Dates have not been set.

Two more volunteer boat captains are needed for this weekend’s Southeastern Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans Association bass tournament. Call Jennifer Windham at (706) 796-6301.

Congratulations to Chris Hadden, North Augusta, for winning the 44th annual Mr. Clark Hill Bass Tournament last Saturday. He weighed in a two-day, 10-fish limit totaling 34.40 pounds.


Raysville Marina, (706) 595-5582 – William Hawkins caught 30 crappies in Germany Creek on minnows.

Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids, striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 ( – Water temperatures climbed back into the low 80s, but fishing still remains good. We’re catching the fish on live bluebacks over 30- and 40-foot-deep humps. The bite is still fast and furious and we were done by 8:45 a.m. Nice flatheads are on the bottom in 60 feet of water and it didn’t take long for the rods to start to bend. We caught flatheads pushing 30 pounds and the blues and the channels 5 to 8 pounds. We’re still looking forward to fall fishing, but fall is reluctant to come.

William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Bradd Sasser, Capt. Andrew Tubbs, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (William) (706) 589-5468, (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – Bradd: The fishing has been good this week, with the hybrid/striper bite coming in 25 to 40 feet of water, fishing live herring on the bottom. Schooling fish can be found in Lake Springs, Georgia’s Little River, up the Savannah to Shriver Creek to around Hickory Knob State Resort Pack and, during the afternoon, below Russell Dam. The catfish bite also has been good, fishing blueback herring on the bottom in 30 to 40 feet of water. Crappies are hitting small, live shiners fished 12 feet down over deeper brush.

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Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, John Byars, (706 722-8263) – There are multiple ponds offering good fishing for largemouth bass, bream and shellcracker, crappies and catfish.


Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – We have had severe windy conditions this past week, but you know what? Fish still bite. I didn’t go out because of the wind, but had I gone, this is what I would have done: I would have dedicated about 30 minutes trolling Nos. 0 and 00 Clark Spoons and I would keep an eye out for any flocks of birds hovering over the ocean’s surface. I might have caught Spanish mackerel, king mackerel or bluefish and little tunny. When it comes to king mackerel, remember there are size limits: 24-inch tail length and a 3-fish creel limit. Spanish mackerel must be 12 inches fork length and there is a daily limit of 15 per person.