PARSONS, W.Va. — A Tucker County angler is still trying to process an amazing weekend of fishing at neighboring Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake.
Scott Lycliter and his son participated in the Big Bass Tour stop on Smith Mountain September 28, 29, and 30. Around 7:30 Saturday morning, Lycliter set the hook on what initially was a thousand dollar bass and turned into a fish which he could value at more than $50,000.
“I caught an 8.59 pound bass on a buzzbait. I won that hour and it ended up holding until the end of the tournament to win the whole thing,” Lycliter explained on West Virginia Outdoors.
The Big Bass Tour is a series of fishing tournaments held all across the United States. The tournaments are for amateur anglers only and feature a unique format for the weigh-in. A weigh-in is held every hour and anglers can weigh a fish any hour they want. The top fish of the hour wins $1,000 and there are lower payments for the rest of the top 10 fish each hour.
“You’ve got a chance every hour to win some money and the top bass for the three days wins a $52,000 Nitro bass boat,” said Lycliter.
Lycliter’s big eight pounder turned out to be the winning fish after three days of plying the waters of Virginia’s premier high country reservoir.
“My son and I were headed down this bank and there was a submerged tree in about 15 feet of water. I was throwing a buzzbait around the first thing in the morning. I brought the buzzbait over that tree and it seemed like that whole part of the lake just opened up and sucked that buzzbait down,” he explained. “I just screamed at my son to get the net and the fight was on.”
He got the monster into the boat, and the mind game and strategy started to play into the game. Anglers can follow the hourly weights on their phone in real time. He could hold the bass for another hour or for several hours–or he could go weigh in immediately. The risk is somebody bringing in a bigger bass to knock him down to a lower spot, but if he had waited an hour or two the same fish may have easily bested the biggest one on the board.
There’s the added issue of leaving good fishing. If an angler gets on a roll catching big fish, they have to make a decision about whether to leave to weigh-in and hope the bite remains on when they return.
The strategy and stress are part of the allure of the tournament.
“Knowing the lake and knowing there are giants in that lake, I just waited until 8:50. I think the biggest fish that hour was five-pounds until I weighed that 8.59,” he said.
The top five fish for the entire tournament ranged from 6 pounds up through Lycliter’s lunker at eight and a half.
He and his son have fished the Big Bass Tour Smith Mountain Lake event for several years. Although they’ve won money in one off the hourly weigh-ins, it was the first time he’d ever claimed a top prize.