Mckie and Champy Crowned 2018 National Champions on Pickwick; 31 Teams Advance to the Final Day of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals

Florence, Ala., – June 29, 2018

The 2018 National Championship being held in conjunction with the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., concluded today.  The winning team received a $10,000 scholarship for their efforts and will advance to the final day of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals.  This week over $150,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded plus double the sponsor swag and giveaways.  Today, a record-breaking crowd was attendance to witness the crowning of the 2018 National Champions, Kyler Mckie and Chad Champy.

The victors held on to their lead by merely four ounces with a limit of bass weighing 19 pounds 12 ounces making their tournament total 57 pounds 10 ounces.
George Rogers Clark Cardinals, Hunter Redman and Avery Brown, finished second bringing a limit to the scales just one ounce away.  The team caught 19 pounds 11 ounces for a tournament total of 57 pounds 6 ounces.  Both teams will be amongst the top 10 National Championship qualifiers to advance to Saturday’s finale with one goal in mind – claiming the most prestigious titles in high school fishing, 2018 High School Fishing World Finals Champions.

Mckie and Champy found one of Pickwick’s sweet spots and have been grinding it out from day one.  “We are just going to do the same thing tomorrow,” the team said.  “I don’t think we are going to have a real good day tomorrow but we are just going to go out there and try out hardest to get a good bag.”
Winning the titles by ounces wasn’t the only circumstance on their sides.  The two caught their last bass with about three minutes to spare and it measured 15 and an 8th inch, just barely over the line.  “It’s still unbelievable, we’re so thankful to be here,” the team commented on the news of their national title win.
“We had two fish out in about 15 minutes, two keepers, and they really came in big time for us,” Mckie said.  “I’ve been fishing this tournament for a couple years and been doing a bunch of nothing. It is great to finally get my name out there.”

As the win settles in, Mckie and Champy must now set their sights on tomorrow’s prize for all the glory.  The weights will be zeroed and 30 accomplished anglers stand in the way.

Redmond and Brown have been on their heels by ounces and are thirsty for redemption.  Both the Semi-Final contestants and the Second Chance round anglers were hungry today, as well.  Forty-nine limits and four bags over 20 pounds were caught between those brackets.

First place Semi-Finalist, Kyle Bahr and Tyler Bahr from the Brainerd Warriors caught a five bass limit weighing 20 pounds 14 ounces while Second Chance Round leaders, Hunter Bailey and Kallie Jolly, from Cherokee County High School caught a limit weighing 20 pounds 3 ounces.

Tournament big bass honors went to the team of Nick Dotson and Graidon Hensley competing in the Second Chance round  and landing a 7 pounds 13 ounce lunker.  As well as, the Semi-Finalists, Camden Slone and Caleb Hurt with 6 pound 13 ounce bass.
To say that anything can happen tomorrow would be an extreme understatement.

One team will separate themselves from the pack and along with nationally recognized bragging rights, that team will receive a $24,000, four year scholarship award if eligible to the top ranked college fishing team in the country, Bethel University, plus their choice of some lucrative prizes.  The second place finishers will also receive a $20,000, four year scholarship award if eligible to Bethel University.

All 31 teams competing tomorrow will receive a trophy and their choice of prizes in order of their finishes.

Today’s weighin was sponsored by SAF sponsor partners, Rapala, VMC and Sufix.  The Senior Night Pizza party was sponsored by FAVORITE fishing who supplied each graduated Senior a brand new FAVORITE fishing rod.

Tune in tomorrow at for live event coverage and the Student Angler Federation Facebook page for event photos and updates.  Takeoff is at 5:30am from McFarland Park and weighin begins at 1:30pm.  The event is free and open to the public.


A Shifting Pickwick Changes the Tide on Day Two; McKie and Champy Seize the Lead

Anglers battled tirelessly to land bites on day two of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship on Pickwick Lake.  Yesterday’s cloud cover and constant current all but disappeared altering the bites, fishing patterns and standings.  Some struggled to adjust while others got in step.  Over half of the teams sitting in the top 10 were not there yesterday and 77 teams that blanked on day one brought their first catch to the scales proving the field is wide open.

 Yesterday’s second place team was among the few to hold their own in the standings.  Kyler Mckie and Chad Champy from the North Augusta Fishing Team pulled ahead with a tournament total of 37 pounds 14 ounces.  The pair had 23 pounds 9 ounces on day one and 14 pounds 5 ounces today.  “Yesterday we got on a real good spot but today was definitely a little rougher,” McKie and Champy said.  “Didn’t think we’d end up pulling through; definitely, better than I thought.”
Today, they returned to the same honey hole in hopes of another healthy bag.  Although, the lack of cloud cover didn’t affect their bite other conditions did.  “This morning we pulled up and got some good fish early, but then later in the day the wind helped push the current along and they started pulling more water, which made it a little tough on us.  We weren’t finding as many bites or quality fish.”
This is McKie and Champy’s first trip at the High School Fishing World Finals event and they’ve only pre-fished the lake a handful of times.  The duo won the South Carolina State Championship on Lake Murray to advance as National Championship qualified anglers.  So, tomorrow their sights are on those titles.
“The goal for us right now is to have a really good day tomorrow and win the National Championship,” the team continued.  “Then, we will worry about the rest when the time comes.”
This event consists of four days of competition one day at a time is the ultimate strategy, and as the standings can attest anything can and will happen as teams set off from McFarland Park in Florence, Ala., for day three of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals.
Day two’s weigh-in was sponsored by the Student Angler Federation’s sponsor partners, Okuma and Blackfish.  Several anglers walking across the stage were randomly given Okuma product and up to $100 Blackfish gift cards.  And although severe thunderstorm warnings in the area threatened the day, the storms held off until its conclusion. Day three continues tomorrow as the National Champions will be crowned and 31 teams advance to Saturday’s finale.

Strong Start on Pickwick; Tilghman and Walker Lead it with a 10 pound 8 ounce Kicker

Florence, Ala., – June 27, 2018

Day one of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship contests held their weight in notoriety.  These young champion anglers from across the nation proved they were here for one reason only – to seize the titles.
The top 10 overall anglers are separated by less than eight pounds.  The rest of the field is close behind and based on talk at the scales, most that aren’t are definitely figuring them out.  This event will see over $150,000 in scholarships and prizes awarded, plus more than double the scholarships, prizes, giveaways and incentives.  Not to mention, it will continue its fame as the most talked about high school event in the country.
Coming across the stage today were several teams inching towards the lead but in the end it was the Hardin County High School Tigers team of Lawson Tilghman and Cort Walker.  Tilghman and Walker sealed the deal with a 10 pound 8 ounce beauty that both silenced and then roared the crowd.  The Tennessee anglers have grown roots not only as family but also on this lake, which they believe is going to make it a tough act to follow.
“We are all pretty much family.  We are always out on this water,”  Tilghman said.  “We kinda grew up like that – like neighbors – we’ve got a lake house here and so anytime I’m not traveling to pre-fish the Costa I’m here fishing this lake.  This is our first year fishing the High School Fishing World Finals together but we’ve been planning on it; just waiting on it to line up right.”
The duo landed 25 pounds 1 ounce to take the lead going into day two but are confident there is more of that to come.  “ Seriously, if you can learn to fish this lake it really carries you over to a lot of lakes,” Tilghman continued.
“Sneaky spots is what we call them.  If it’s on the chart somebody has it marked so we always try to find stuff that is off the wall and hidden. Those fish are pressured.   They’ve seen everything.  They’ve done their homework.
We are moving around the whole day if we don’t have a bite just trying not to waste a lot of time.  You can’t just beat it up since it’s a three day tournament you need to rotate through them with chances of going back.  They have your number, and they know what you’re throwing.”
Close behind in second overall is the North Augusta Fishing Team of Kyler Mckie and Chad Champy with 23 pounds 9 ounces.  In third, is the NAT – Eagan Bass Fishing Club of Brian Linder and Nathan Thompson with 22 pounds 6 ounces.  Like Tilghman stated, it will be a three day grind to the final cut day and those spots are wide open.
Day two continues tomorrow at McFarland Park and Lake Pickwick in Florence, Ala.  Through the week, SAF sponsors have dedicated their time and their investments in the future of our sport.  Today, was MoveU, Eagle Claw Tro Kar and Quantum day resulting in free swag plus giveaways held all through the weigh-in.
Tomorrow, day two unfolds with take-off starting at 5:30am at McFarland Park and the weigh-in at 1:30pm CST.  Attendance is open to the public.  Both events are filmed for television on the Pursuit Channel and are streamed live on  Daily pictures and updates are also on the Student Angler Federation Facebook.