Jones’ solo effort tops Bassmaster College Series event at Clarks Hill Reservoir

Anderson Jones of Lander University saved the best for last en route to singlehandedly sacking up 43 pounds, 15 ounces and winning the Strike King Bassmaster College Series at Clarks Hill Reservoir presented by Bass Pro Shops.

After placing third on Day 1 with 19-12, Jones stepped on the gas and sacked up a second-round limit of 24-3 — the event’s heaviest bag — to seal the win in the first Lunkers Trail event of the season on the College Series.

Jones edged University of Montevallo’s Brenton Godwin and Hunter Odom by 6-12. Jones took home the top prize of $6,137.

Jones admits he missed having a partner to help secure his catches, but the junior majoring in Media and Communications said he kept his head in the game and worked through the challenges.

“It wasn’t pretty netting my own fish,” he chuckled. “There were a couple of close calls that could have cost me this win, but I had a great day.

“I came into this tournament with the mindset that, at the end of the day, whatever happens, I made it this far and I’m pretty proud of it. But man, this hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Working the lake’s lower end, Jones started his final day by fishing docks for bass that were targeting blueback herring. He caught those fish on a Damiki rig with a 3/16-ounce jig and a Yamamoto Scope Shad before shifting gears to a more prominent pattern.

“I know those herring fish get finicky in the afternoon, so after that I went after the shad eaters and bluegill eaters,” Jones said. “I fished rocks with a big jointed swimbait in a shad color and a 9-inch glidebait in green gizzard.

“The key was keeping the bait above their head. I think they get a lot of confidence when it’s over their head, so I used my Garmin LiveScope to keep my bait in the right position.”

Despite the commanding performance, Jones said he actually experienced some first-round frustration that nearly spun him out. Stopping for a personal pep talk, he got himself back on track and secured a solid Day 1 bag.

“The biggest challenge that I had was mindset,” Jones said. “I’m not gonna say I didn’t lose myself a little bit on Day 1, but it was getting to the point where I was scrambling. I didn’t know what to do, but I slapped myself in the face and said, ‘Just fish, try to catch five, and survive Day 1’ and that’s what I did.

“I had one fish at 2 o’clock and I was due in at 4:40. I got it flipped around 2:30 and caught four pretty quickly and then I made one more cull that put me at 19-12.”

Godwin and Odom placed 18th on Day 1 with 16-13 and made a big Day 2 move by catching a limit of 20-6 to tally 37-3.

Peyton Harris and Dalton Head, also of the University of Montevallo, finished third with 36-13.

Godwin and Odom won the $100 Big Bass award with a 7-7.

The event was hosted by Visit Columbia County, GA.