Two more Packer bass fishing teams qualify for state finals

Feb. 19—MOULTRIE — The weather was better for the 270 boats of teams that left from the Sugar Creek Marina in Buckhead to fish Lake Oconee on Saturday in the GHSA's second bass fishing state tournament qualifier.

Not facing the wind and cold that bedeviled them in the January competition at Lake Seminole, on this day the young anglers had to contend with red, muddy water from the runoff of recent rains.

But two Colquitt County teams overcame those problems with bags good enough to qualify for the state finals, which will be held on May 4, at Clarks Hill Lake.

The Colquitt County team of Hayden Hamm and John Davis Summerlin finished third when it returned with four fish weighing 10 pounds, 13 ounces.

Canyon Cook and Braden Venet weighed 5 pounds and 11 ounces, good for 27th. The boat was captained by Chip Venet.

The top 32 teams qualified to fish at Clarks Hill.

Colquitt County now has four teams qualified for the state finals, a school record.

The Jake Wilkes-Joseph Jackson team and the team of Carl Brown Jr. and CJ Bryant qualified for the finals in the season-opening tournament on Jan. 20, at Lake Seminole.

And there are two more events — the next tournament, which will be held on March 16, at West Point Lake in LaGrange, and the final qualifier, which will be held on April 20 at Lake Hartwell.

Packers coach Will Stuckey said that more Packer teams could also qualify.

Also competing for the Packers on Saturday were the teams of Walker Story and Brayden Bell; Wilkes and Jackson; Cole Thompson and Brayden Carter; and Andrew Stanford and Hayden Glass.

Stuckey captained the boat with Hamm and Summerlin, who had struggled in practice.

But the two had three fish weighing about seven pounds when they decided to take one last long run to a wooded area where they suspected they could be successful.

It paid off when Summerlin used a Texas rig to land one that Stuckey thought might be enough to earn first place.

But the Oconee County team of Churchill Harris and Campbell Patterson came in late with a sack weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces that took first place.

Jacob Janning and Ben Wilson of Jefferson High placed second when they returned with four fish weighing 12 pounds, 8 ounces.