Kimberling City, Mo.—Republic High School continued its domination of Missouri high school bass tournaments with another victory in the Teen Anglers circuit season finale May 16 at Table Rock Lake.
Republic’s Brandon Durr and Hunter Gill teamed up to top a 94-boat field with a five-fish limit weighing 12.33 pounds. The same two anglers won the Missouri High School Fall Classic Bass Tournament at Lake of the Ozarks last October and were instrumental in helping Republic win the 2014 Bass Pro Shops Open Championship of High School Fishing at Table Rock. A Republic team of Gerald Snook and Josh Perkins also won the previous Teen Anglers event April 11 at Stockton Lake.
Chasing schooling bass was the key to victory for Durr and Gill at Table Rock. “When it was cloudy we threw Zara Spooks and when it was sunny we were sticking with spoons and catching fish under the surface then,” Gill said.
Durr and Gill found their fish the Wednesday before the tournament when they fished a tournament at Cape Fair. “We did pretty good up the James River so we kind of got the gut feeling to start up there,” said Durr, who recalled they had a limit by 8 a.m. “We culled all day long and probably had three or four limits of fish.”
The Republic anglers fished main lake structure and kept their boat over depths of 30 feet. Durr estimated the fish were suspended 15 to 20 feet deep.
Gill noted they experimented with the retrieve speed of their Spooks when the fish were surfacing. “One of us would work it a little faster and one of us would work it a little slower but it really didn’t matter,” he said. When the surface activity subsided, Gill used a 1/2-ounce Dixie Jett Spoon while Durr relied on a Jewel Bait Company Scuba Spoon to continue catching schooling bass.
“If they were schooling and we were just catching Kentuckies, after we had a limit we tried to leave those fish and find other schooling fish that had largemouth in it,” said Gill. Their winning bag included three largemouth and two smallmouth bass.
Ava High School angler Cody Huff fished solo in the season finale and finished second with an 11.92-pound limit consisting of four smallmouth and one quality largemouth. “I ended up throwing topwaters (Zara Spooks and Red Fins) all day long and ended up catching the fish I needed,” said Huff, who recently received a scholarship to fish for the Bethel College bass team.
Huff followed around one school of fish by either locating the school on his electronics or watching for busting fish. “I just waited for them to get active,” he said.
The Glendale High duo of Jack Rankin and Mason McDonald took third place with an 11.63 limit. They caught one keeper on a Red Fin in their first 30 minutes of fishing but then switched to the small jig and stickworm combo known as the Ned Rig. “The first one we caught was a keeper and from then on they just kept on coming and we ended up catching eight keepers on the Ned Rig,” Rankin said. McDonald noted they kept their boat over a depth of 20 feet and cast their Ned Rigs to pea gravel banks.
Fourth place went to Nixa High anglers Brett Linville and Evan Ouellette who weighed in an 11.52 limit. They caught most of their fish slowly dragging a green pumpkin tube bait with a 1/4-ounce jighead along secondary points and deep pockets, according to Ouellette. Linville said he caught one quality bass fishing the tube around a boat dock.
Ozark High’s Austin Thrap and Tristan Cunninham brought in an 11.17-pound limit to finish fifth. Thrap noted they caught all of their fish bouncing or dragging 5/16-ounce Ned Rigs and 7/16-ounce wobble head jigs with Jackall Cover Craws around docks along pea gravel and chunk rock banks.
The big bass of the tournament weighing 3.67 pounds was caught by Willard High’s Austin Ware and Drew Underhill.
Winning Anglers of the Year honors were Hillcrest High’s Ashley Ruggles and Garrett Moeller who finished with 618 points.
The Teen Anglers Championship will be held June 13-14 at Stockton Lake.
For more results from the Table Rock season finale or information about the Teen Anglers circuit, visit www.teenanglers.net.