The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with FLW Outdoors, the Town of Kimball, and the Tennessee Bass Federation held the 2012 Student Angler Federation (SAF) Tennessee High School Fishing State Championship on Nickajack Lake Saturday, May 12. Forty six boats launched out of the Shellmound Park Ramp near Kimball, Tenn., with over forty teams bringing fish back to the scales that afternoon! Nickajack Lake, part of the famed Tennessee River system, lived up to all of the anglers expectations as twenty teams brought in five bass limits. All of the students had the opportunity to weigh in their catch using equipment that was provided for by the Tennessee Bass Federation.
Dustin Mayton & Hayden Everett from the Oliver Springs High School Bobcats weighed in 16.56 lbs to win the 2012 Tennessee High School State Championship.
“We started off the morning catching three good keepers on about six or seven casts, less than fifteen minutes after launching,” described Everett. “We were using ¾ oz mop jigs made by Showboat Lures in the Okeechobee Craw color with matching Strike King Rage Craws for trailers.”
The team was fishing an underwater roadbed in 12-16 feet of water that they had discovered and caught quality fish on during practice. With three in the livewell, the team had to play a little bit of defense as other local anglers saw the team landing keepers and eased their boats over to investigate. The deep bite quickly died after the initial flurry; however, Mayton & Everett kept switching up lures and presentations for several hours until they decided to try different water around 10am.
Their second spot was a railroad bed similar to the first except that it was in 8-12 feet of water and there was also some fresh grass growing in the area. They switched to throwing solid-body Showboat Lures Swimbaits and shallow running crankbaits. Mayton & Everett picked up keepers four and five by burning the crankbait over the grass. “With about thirteen pounds in the boat we knew if there was any chance that we were going to win, we had to throw big stuff,” said Mayton. “About thirty minutes before we were due back in, we got a big swirl on the swimbait and set the hook. We both thought it was a rockfish because it was stripping drag and just going crazy!”
After a two minute fight, the team landed the fish. Not only was it a 5.80 pound largemouth bass that would win Big Bass honors, it was the fish that led them to an almost two pound victory sealing their bid to become 2012 Tennessee High School State Champions.
In second place, with a limit weighing 14.72 pounds was Dylan True & Kallen Rochelle representing the Waverly Central High School Tigers. Waverly Central is located near Kentucky Lake and both anglers commented on using their experience on the Tennessee River system to catch their fish on Nickajack Lake. Finishing in third from the Riverside Christian Academy Knights, Joshua Mills & Conner Fogg caught five bass that weighed 14.54 pounds which included a small penalty for fish care.
The reigning 2011 Tennessee High School State Championship team of Austin Massingill & Wyatt Beavers, representing the Soddy Daisy High School Trojans, finished in fifth place with a five fish limit that weighed 13.74 pounds.
“This tournament was a great success largely due to a collaboration of efforts between The Bass Federation, the Town of Kimball, the Tennessee Bass Federation, and several other key sponsors” stated Tournament Director & SAF Program Manager, Alex Craw. “I can’t thank the Town of
Kimball enough for providing an all-around first class experience for these student anglers and their families!”
Places first through third, as well as Big Bass, were also awarded lure packages valued at over $100 from Yank-Um Custom Tackle, Sworming Hornet Fish Head Spins, Wackem Crazy Baits, Trixster Custom Baits, JP’s Jigs and Rigs, and Timber Ghost Hunt-N-Fish.
Kimball provided a fully catered dinner on the night of registration as well as T-shirts and other fishing goodies for each student angler. Professional angler and fishing guide, David DuVall, gave a brief seminar on the Yank-Um Mop Jig and provided some background information on Nickajack Lake. Staff from Sworming Hornet/Yank-Um Rods as well as Wackem Crazy Baits offered all products at a discount to SAF members, boat captains, and family members in attendance. Members of the UT-Chattanooga Mocs Bass Anglers were on hand to answer any questions students had about fishing at the collegiate level and coverage of the weekend’s events were featured on Channel3Outdoors.com, an affiliate of WRCB in Chattanooga, Tenn.
If you’re interested in starting a High School Fishing club at your school, please visit HighSchoolFishing.org for details on the Student Angler Federation (SAF). Cost is only $25/ year and includes full TBF and FLW Outdoors benefits, including access to the all-new FLW Outdoors Magazine e-Edition and insurance coverage for students and their club.
The winning two-person team from each state championship will advance to an FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing Conference Championship held in conjunction with a National Guard FLW College Fishing Conference Championship. Those winners will advance to the FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing National Championship held in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship in the spring of 2013.
All SAF members and state championship participants qualify for the largest event in high school fishing, the 2012 High School Fishing World Finals to compete for thousands of dollars in college scholarships and prizes. Each team that qualifies for a conference and/or national championship will receive a travel allowance to help offset expenses. The National Champions will also each receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at the university of their choice.
The SAF High School Championship series moves to Columbus, MS next weekend for the Mississippi State SAF Championship which will be held on the Tenn-Tom Waterway, as well as the Colorado/New Mexico State SAF Championship to be held on Lake Pueblo in Pueblo, CO.
For information on how to join the new and exciting sport of high school bass fishing, visit www.HighSchoolFishing.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hsfishing or follow us on Twitter @hs_fishing.