By MLF Communications Staff

CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. – The Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour is set to visit Clarendon County in South Carolina this week for the second event of the 2024 season at Santee Cooper Lakes, with competition set for Tuesday through Sunday. The 80-angler field will compete for a top prize of $100,000.

“This one is going to be a really fun tournament. It’s going to be a grinder, but there are massive bass that live at Santee Cooper and I’m excited,” said pro Anthony Gagliardi, who has more than $2.5 million in career earnings. “There is a lot more grass there recently than in years past. I don’t know how or if that will play in the tournament, but it definitely can’t hurt.

"It’ll still be cold, so we’ll see a lot of prespawn fishing. And it’ll be interesting to see how the event shakes out with forward-facing sonar. I’m sure some guys will use it – if I had a tournament in my backyard someone would be using it and trying to find them in my lawn – but the water clarity is stained, and I don’t think we’ll see guys finding big schools of fish.”

Fellow South Carolina pro Andy Montgomery agrees that the forward-facing sonar is an X-factor in this event.

“I don’t know that LiveScoping is something that the locals do a whole lot of, but it has certainly changed a lot of things in regard to how we approach these lakes,” Montgomery said. “We’ve had a ton of rain lately, so the lake is flooded and muddy. We’ll definitely be watching the weather, as it will have a big effect on the event – if parts of the lake get blown out and how much fishable water we have.”

Both anglers agreed that traditionally at this time of the year, prespawn tactics are likely to be the predominant patterns.

“Both lakes are full of cypress trees,” Montgomery said. “I don’t expect we’ll see any spawning fish yet. But LiveScoping baits and normal prespawn stuff – spinnerbaits, (Strike King) Thunder Crickets – will be strong. We’ll definitely see guys flipping jigs, too.”

“I’ll have a few (Z-Man) ChatterBaits and lipless and shallow-running crankbaits tied on,” Gagliardi added. “I think we’ll see quite a few bass caught out of the trees and in prespawn staging areas.”

The tournament will feature the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which anglers catch as much weight as they can each day while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the ScoreTracker leaderboard. Although the fishery has hosted numerous MLF bass tournaments over the years, this event will mark the first time that the BPT has visited Santee Cooper Lkes.

Anglers will launch at 7:30 a.m. ET each day from the John C. Land III Landing, located at 4404 Greenall Road in Summerton. Each day’s takeout will be held at the park beginning at 4 p.m.

The event will feature anglers competing with a 1-pound, 8-ounce minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable. The MLF Fisheries Management Division determines minimum weights for each body of water that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.

The 40 Anglers in Group A compete in their two-day Qualifying Round on Tuesday and Thursday, with the 40 anglers in Group B competing on Wednesday and Friday. After each two-day Qualifying Round is complete, the anglers who finish first through 10th from each group advance to Saturday’s Knockout Round.

In the Knockout Round, weights are zeroed and the remaining 20 anglers compete to finish in the Top 10 to advance to Sunday’s Championship Round, where weights will again b zeroed and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

The MLFNOW! broadcast team of Chad McKee and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on the final four days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLFNOW! will be livestreamed on and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.