When the B.A.S.S. Nation state team qualifiers arrive for the 2021 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Southeast Regional at Lake Hartwell April 28-30, they can expect a lake that will provide several different ways to catch fish, according to Bassmaster Elite Series pro and South Carolina native Jason Williamson.
“Everybody will catch fish,” he said. “It’s a great lake. The potential is there for a 20-pound bag, but it’s really hard to duplicate. You’ll see a pretty big bag or two weighed in and see some consistency around the 12-pound mark. Someone who can stay consistently around a 15- to 16-pound average will have a great shot to win the event.”
Located on the border of Georgia and South Carolina, Lake Hartwell has been the site of many historic Bassmaster events, including three Bassmaster Classics, and was recently named the host fishery for the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk. Most recently, in March 2021, Carson-Newman University anglers Ben Cully and Hayden Gaddis won the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Lake Hartwell presented by Bass Pro Shops with a two-day total of 35 pounds, 10 ounces. In two days, a giant field of 261 teams caught just over 4,536 pounds of bass.
Lake Hartwell is made up of two rivers, the Seneca and the Tugaloo, which meet 7 miles above the Hartwell dam. The lake offers both quality largemouth and spotted bass fishing, and for most of the year, the bass chase blueback herring.
But in April, Williamson said you can expect fish in a couple of different places on Lake Hartwell.
“Normally towards the end of April, you’ll have a few spawners that get around the bank,” he said. “You’ll have some postspawners that are going to sit under docks. You’ll also have some fish that are going to start chasing blueback herring on hard-bottom points. There will be three things going on there.”
Wacky rigs will be a key to catching spawning fish and postspawn fish around the numerous docks on Lake Hartwell, as well as a shaky head and a jig. While they are up around the docks, the bass will feed on bluegill.
For the blueback herring eaters, walking topwater baits and flukes have historically been productive lures, as well as a Carolina rig and a drop shot.
“In April, your flatter points that are in pockets and creeks will start to see some blueback spawning activity and schooling activity,” Williamson said. “Those will be the red-clay points and hard-bottom points.”
The tournament is one of five regional championship events the B.A.S.S. Nation has scheduled around the country this year. Anglers will be competing for cash prizes and a spot in the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
The event is being hosted by Visit Anderson.
“We are very excited for the opportunity to host the B.A.S.S. Nation Southeast Regional Championship at Lake Hartwell, Green Pond Landing and Anderson County,” said Neil Paul, Executive Director of Visit Anderson. “Our local leadership has invested significantly in our lake and facilities and our community has seen, firsthand, the significant economic impact that comes with hosting B.A.S.S. events of all levels in Anderson County. We look forward to hosting the anglers, families and spectators in our community as well as the staff from B.A.S.S. for what will be another first-class event. ”
Daily takeoffs for the 2021 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Southeast Regional Championship will be at 6:30 a.m. ET from Green Pond Landing & Event Center and weigh-ins each day at the same facility at 2:30 p.m. Coverage of the event will be available at Bassmaster.com.