Kauffman and Carey Win SAF National Championship at Lake Hartwell

Kauffman and Carey Win SAF National Championship at Lake Hartwell

The 15th Annual High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship is now in the books.  It took place in Anderson, South Carolina at Lake Hartwell at Green Pond Landing.  The National Championship part of the event featured 249 teams competing over a three-day, combined weight format event.

National Championship qualified anglers were all so competing in the World Final portion of the dual event as well so their day 1 and day 2 weights counted in both events.  So as Day One was getting underway, anglers were hopeful that their practice would pay off.  When day 1 closed, 235 of the teams were on the board, many with a hefty three fish limits.  To better support fish care and conservation, and the keep the large youth events competitive, The Bass Federation has for years requires a 3 fish limit on all its summer-time national events.

The National Championship Day One leader was the Alabama team of Mason Carden and Morgan Carden.  They put a giant bag of fish on the scales that weighed 12-08 pounds, just over a four-pound average.  To finish in the Top Ten for the day you needed 9-10 pounds.  This was a strong start with the three fish limit.  You had to have better than a three-pound average, just to stay in the hunt, for the National Championship title.

As Thursday began on day 2, there were over fifty teams with a legitimate shot at making the cut in the Top Ten that afternoon.  The team that was second place after Day One, moved to the top of the leaderboard on Day two with another strong showing, bringing 8-10 pounds to add to their Day One weight of 12-02.  They lead all National Championship Qualifiers with 20-12 pounds.  Bryson Dover and Angel Cornejo of Georgia were just 13 ounces off the lead, heading into the final round on Friday.  It took 17-10 pounds to make the Top Ten cut that afternoon and the ten finalist teams were just separated by slightly more than one 3 pound fish so anyone in the top 10 could have still won it.  All other national championship qualified outside the top 10 were cut to continue on in the World Finals standings after day 2.

When the dust settled on Friday’s top 10 National Championship weigh in, the Pennsylvania team of Josh Kauffman and Trent Carey wound up taking home the National Championship trophies and titles by bringing 9-03 to the scales and ending their three days with 29-15 pounds.

Pennsylvania team of Josh Kauffman and Trent Carey


Bryson Dover and Angel Cornejo remained in second with a final weight of 28-11 pounds.

Bryson Dover and Angel Cornejo


Third place went to the Georgia team of Charles Roberts and Reese Mutter with 26-12 pounds.

Charles Roberts and Reese Mutter


Rounding out the top 5, Carter Cunningham and Landon Glander took fourth with 26-210 pounds and another Georgia team of Lane Parker and Noah Dzyuba took fifth with 25-11 pounds.  All 10 of the National Championship finalists on Friday auto advances to Saturday’s final day of the 15th annual High School Fishing World Finals.

Most of the National Championship teams talked about fishing fairly shallow all week and were using topwater baits and Flukes to catch most of their fish.  Most were fishing in 3-8 feet of water.  Most teams also talked about catching several keepers each day and having to cull several times to improve their catch.