Getting a winning angler on Lake Wylie to share his secret often proves trickier than hooking all those heavy bass in the first place. Parks Jones didn’t mind attributing his most recent win.
“I was able to win one for my boy,” the York owner of Carolina Marine said last week. “He was shining down on his daddy Saturday.”
Jones and partner Daniel Hill won the Oct. 27 CS Motorsports Fall Classic, a 29-year event that regularly draws many of the top names in tournament bass fishing. It was the first win for Jones since his son and fishing buddy, Gavin, died from a rare brain tumor in May at age 9.
Jones won his first local tournament in 1983 when he wasn’t yet 15 years old, and he’s routinely battled area “big sticks” from the Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Outdoors and other tours on Lake Wylie. The Wednesday before his Saturday win, Jones didn’t have a boat with a motor on it.
Fishing has been fun his whole life, and lately Jones hasn’t be interested.
“It’s hard to do something that’s fun when you’re mourning,” he said.
When Jones won the CS Motorsports tournament in 2008, Gavin posed with him in the prize check picture. And Jones fished some tournaments during Gavin’s illness, hoping for one last win to honor his son.
Finally getting that win, Jones is no longer so sure it’ll be the last. The joy of competition returned during the tournament. Elite Series angler and tournament host Britt Myers reminded Jones why he loved the sport. Myers and local Gene Webster finished second.
“It got me fired back up,” Jones said.
In third were seasoned pros Todd Auten and Chris Baumgardner, followed by a host of known names and Wylie experts. Perhaps fittingly, it was a comeback approach that netted Jones and his team the win.
He tried crankbaiting a spot with little luck. He returned anyway. When he and Hill hit the scales, they sat almost half a pound ahead of the field.
“We came back,” Jones said.
How’d they finish?
There were 77 teams but only 14 limits caught, with anglers facing 20 mph or stronger winds. Finishing in the money were:
1. Parks Jones/Daniel Hill, 15.86 pounds, $3,250
2. Gene Webster/Britt Myers, 15.43 pounds, $700
3. Todd Auten/Chris Baumgardner, 14.58 pounds, $300
4. Chuck Montgomery/Louis Hull, 14.53 pounds, $850
5. Keith Smith/Rick Workley, 13.91 pounds, $225
6. Jeff Benfield/Mike Rickard, 13.79 pounds, $200
7. Michael Fox/Tony Shook, 13.74 pounds, $175
8. John Schohn/Todd Moss, 13.19 pounds, $150
9. Ezell Mullinax/Sidney Weaver, 13.15 pounds, $125
10. David Winters/Dean Inkelar, 13.14 pounds, $100
11. Ryan Shoaf/Cherie Strickland, 12.04 pounds, $330
12. Rusty White/Jeremy Mccoy, 11.78 pounds, $80
13. Mike Stone/Corey Stone, 11.18 pounds, $80
14. Mike Allman Jr/Mike Allman Sr, 11.12 pounds, $80
15. John Lewis/Lee Sigmon, 10.81 pounds, $80
Big Fish: 4.42 pounds, $600 Hull/Montgomery
2nd Big Fish: 4.12 pounds, Eddie Smith/Ken Cross $170