Monday, May 27, 2024

Brian & Nicole Tidwell take Win on Hartwell

April 20th Lake Hartwell, Hartwell, GA.  Brian and Nicole Tidwell of Seneca, SC, won the American Couples Series South Carolina Division tournament presented by American Bass Anglers. The tournament was run out of Gum Branch in Hartwell, GA. Brian and Nicole brought back five bass that locked in the scales at 15.06 pounds, anchored by a 4.28-pound kicker. Brian and Nicole took home a check for $1,080 for the victory.

Brian and Nicole shared, “We caught our fish on 2 different patterns: topwater lures on points and sight fishing for spawning bass using a variety of Zoom soft plastics. We enjoy the couples trail and always have a great time, even if we don’t catch ’em.”

JB and Tammy Wicker claimed second place, with five bass weighing a total of 14.69 pounds. For their efforts, JB and Tammy took home $540 in prize money.

JB & Tammy caught their fish on shallow points.  Their fish were feeding on shad and pushing them up on points.  Found the bass while practicing Friday.  Our best fish were caught on speed craws and a shallow crankbait.  Several bass caught on topwater were later culled out.  We can’t say thanks enough to Berkeley Marine and all our sponsors for the Couples Trail.

Kyle Brown & Bethany Byrd took third with five bass and a total weight of 14.51 to earn $360 in prize money.

Kyle & Bethany started the morning at the mouth of Lightwood Creek, throwing topwater baits for schooling fish.  Bethany did well with a whooper plopper.  We spent the rest of the day in the Tugloo River using jigs and shakey heads to catch pre-spawn fish ad a couple of fish off of beds.  A late afternoon cull on topwater helped to fill out a good limit.

TJ and Hannah Souther took fourth with 5 bass and a total weight of 14.46, earning $300 in prize money.

TJ & Hannah fished the herring spawn on the lower end of the lake using a small swim bait and topwater.

Ben & Ashley Sutton took fifth with five bass and a total weight of 14.51 to earn $270 in prize money.

Ben and Ashley shared, “We went with the herring spawn and ran points down the lake, throwing topwater and digging. We looked for some on bed but did not see anything. We were able to catch two off brush piles, and at 2:30, Ashley ended up making a 2lb upgrade. Tournament day was definitely better than the 2 practice days we had. As always, we would like to thank all of our sponsors including GLine batteries for their $100 bounty.”

Darren and Amy Taylor placed sixth with 5 bass and a total weight of 12.82, earning $180 in prize money.

Darren & Amy shared, “Always great to see our fishing family…we love fishing with y’all! Shaky heads on points the mouth of the Tugaloo. Tough to find points with them on it- due to spawning. Hard to find the big ones. Thank y’all for always having us, and I hope to see y’all soon!”

Harry and Kimberly Johnson placed seventh with 5 bass and a total weight of 12.51, earning $150 in prize money.

Harry & Kim started the day on the main lake and caught two fish on the first stop. These fish were caught on a whopper plopper and a spinner bait. We fished pockets the rest of the day and finished the day with a couple of nice bed fish.

Robert and Sally Young placed eighth with 5 bass and a total weight of 12.15, earning $120 in prize money.

Robert & Sally caught their fish off rocky points on plastic worms.

The Ladies Biggest Bass of the tournament was caught by Sharon Waddell. Her fish locked in the scales at 3.78 pounds, caught mid-day in 2-4 feet of water on the bed in the lower end of the lake using a hand-poured worm and earning her $185.

Daniel Brown caught the men’s biggest bass in the tournament.  His fish was caught on a Berkeley cull shad skipping under docks and locked in the scales at 5.36 pounds, earning him $200.

Ben & Ashley Sutton won the G-Line $100 Bounty for being the highest finisher with a G-Line Lithium Battery powering the trolling motor. 

Everyone has those days on the water when you catch fish, but they all seem to be fanners, or you just never get that kicker you’ve been looking for.  Well, thanks to Berkeley Outdoors, one of our generous sponsors, our couples can still get a payday if they weigh in the smallest 5-fish limit.  Eric & Alicia Simpson were the recipients of the Berkeley Outdoors $50 Smallest Limit Award with 5 bass weighing 6.36 lbs.

Thanks to our sponsors, we can provide drawings for those teams that do not earn a paycheck. Our sponsor items for this event included Yo-Zuri, Phantom Outdoors, Five Bass Tackle, McElveen Buick GMC, TruCarts, ALX Rods, Choo Choo Custom Baits, Gline Batteries, Berkley Baits, StrikeKing, and JC’s Outdoors products.

The next tournament for the South Carolina Division will take place May 18th on Clark’s Hill out of Hickory Knobb State Park.

Top 10

For more information on this event or division, please contact your local directors, Tom Bancroft at (843) 697-6232 or Missy Bancroft at (843) 697-3441 or visit

In the American Couples Series, anglers pair up for a team effort. Most teams consist of a husband and a wife, but that’s not a rule. Teams can consist of a boyfriend and girlfriend combination, a father and daughter duo, or any combination of one male and one female.

The teams compete in several regional or state divisions throughout the year. Once a pair forms a team, however, the two must fish together as a team throughout the season to be eligible to accumulate points and qualify for the annual national championship.

The entry fee for the American Couples Series one-day events is $100 and the top teams are invited to compete in the championship each fall.

About American Bass Anglers

American Bass Anglers, committed to providing low-cost, close-to-home tournaments, offers an exciting platform for individual angler progression. With the support of industry-leading companies, ABA continues to advance the sport of bass fishing.

For more information about the ABA Professional League and other series, visit or call (256) 232-0406.

American Bass Anglers is proud to be sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, Power Pole, RT Outdoors, Optima Batteries, Hotel, and

About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is dedicated to organizing affordable, local tournaments for weekend anglers while offering opportunities for individual angler advancement. To learn more about American Bass Anglers, including the Team Series, American Fishing Tour, American Couples Series, annual Military Team Bass Tournament, ABA Team Series, Top 150 Solo Tour, and Pro League, all presented by Caymas Boats, please visit or call (256) 232-0406.

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