Britt Myers spent as much time driving a bass boat as he did casting a lure during last week’s Huk Performance Fishing Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay. But the long daily rides from the launch site in Georgetown to the Cooper River paid off with the Lake Wylie professional’s first victory on the Elite Series level.
Myers finished the four-day tournament with a 20-bass limit of 56 pounds, 3 ounces, 4 ounces better than runner-up Brett Hite, and collected $101,500, an amount that will climb significantly once all the sponsor bonuses come in. Hite collected $25,000.
Rounding out the top 12 were: : Kelly Jordon, 55-3; Brent Chapman, 47-11; Randy Howell, 47-11; Keith Combs, 46-13; Gerald Swindle, 46-7; Jacob Powroznik, 46-2; Boyd Duckett, 45-5; Chris Zaldain, 43-9; John Hunter Jr., 40-14; and Mark Menendez, 39-2.
“When they announced the tournament, it was pretty cool because no one had previous knowledge (of the Winyah Bay fishery),” Myers said. “We were almost in disbelief we were going there because there’s so much history on the other South Carolina lakes. So I immediately started doing my homework.”
Homework consisted of getting together with locals who drove him and explained the techniques that worked on the various river systems in play – the Waccamaw, Pee Dee, Black, Sampit and Santee Rivers that feed into Winyah Bay, plus the Cooper River that was accessible by a long run down the Intracoastal Waterway to Charleston. He ultimately chose the Cooper River because he felt the water was more stable after last fall’s historic floods.
Myers said he was looking for shortcuts to the fishing and places to gas up, homework that proved to be extremely beneficial when all was said and done.
“I fished the Cooper River all four days. It was 100 miles exactly each way to where I was fishing. I logged over 800 miles in four days of fishing driving a bass boat. (The trip) was anywhere from two hours to an hour and 30 minutes depending on which way the wind was blowing.”
Myers said the ride up and down the ICW wasn’t too bad other than an occasional wake thrown by a big yacht. Crossing Winyah Bay and Charleston Harbor was a different story, “pretty doggone rough” he said.
One of the key choices Myers made was electing to refuel on his way to fishing. He stopped at Daniel Island Marina in the mornings rather than risk pulling in on his return voyage and finding a yacht taking on 600 gallons of fuel.
Myers was second after the opening day of fishing with 16-8, but vaulted into the lead with a second-day catch of 21-7. He slipped to third on the third day with 8-15 and managed 9-5 on Sunday to overtake Hite, who managed only two bass weighing 5-13 on the final day.
“Sunday turned out to be a tough day for everybody,” Myers said. “To be honest as I started my journey back I realistically thought I was going to be somewhere between third and fifth. To get back and take the victory was absolutely incredible. You couldn’t ask for any better drama the way it unfolded.”
Myers said 17 of the 20 bass he weighed during the tournament came on a ChatterBait, a lure manufactured not too far from the Cooper River in Ladson, by Z-Man baits. The other three were caught using a Zoom Super Fluke.
Myers praised the local knowledge that fellow South Carolina anglers shared as he prepared for the tournament.
“To me that’s a fine representation of South Carolina bass fishermen. I’m beyond proud to win this event in my home state. It’s just hard to accurately describe what I’m feeling right now,” he said after the win.
Myers fished an abandoned rice field with irrigation drains filled with hydrilla and stumps.
“When the tide wasn’t perfect, I fished stumps looking for spawning bass,” he explained. “When the tide picked up, I fished the current breaks near the hydrilla points and near logs and laydowns. There were times when I could almost call my shot.”