UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

McKie, Champy Take Pickwick Lead

McKie, Champy Take Pickwick Lead
Kyler McKie & Chad Champy

An early serving of Pickwick Lake’s largemouth bounty positioned North Augusta High School’s Kyler McKie and Chad Champy for a big day, one that saw them sack up a limit that weighed 23 pounds, 9 ounces to take the day-one lead at the 2018 High School Fishing National Championship.

“We caught that fish about 10 o’clock,” Champy says of their 7-pound, 13-ounce largemouth that anchored their limit. “It was a little slow at first, but then we pulled up to one of our good spots and we started pulling up some good fish.”

Noting that he and his partner decided to save some of their fish for subsequent days, Champy says they then backed off their spot and left the fish biting. The leaders lost another big bass on their main spot, so they’re hopeful that they can return on day two and have similar opportunities.

McKie says that he and Champy caught their fish by slowly dragging unnamed baits. This strategy was part of their game plan to sidestep the norm and dance to their own tune.

“A lot of these fish have seen so many moving baits that they get tired of them and they want something slow,” McKie says. “That’s what we did.”

As McKie explains, patiently working through their spots was the key to their success.

“We pulled up on one spot and caught a bunch of short fish, but then I caught one that was about 4 pounds that we weighed in,” he says. “Then we pulled up to another spot and he [Champy] caught that big one around 8 a.m. and on the next cast I caught one about 6, and then I lost one.

“We came back later in the day, and I lost a 7-pounder and on the next cast I caught a 5.”

McKie describes his team’s main spot as a tiny hump a short distance off the river channel. The structure has a small dip on the backside, and abundant baitfish in the general area have created a feeding station for bass.

Competitors were allowed to fish Pickwick or lock into Wilson Lake, and about 50 teams chose the latter option. Across the board, targeting offshore ledges for schooling fish was the ticket overall, but variances were found. For example, while most of the ledge fishing was done in about 20 feet, fifth-place Hunter Muncrief and Landen McCary fared better by working 14- to 15-foot ledges and looking for smaller pods of fish, which typically held bass of better quality.

Elsewhere, a small percentage of the field fished closer to shore where they targeted shallow emergent grass edges, docks and bluff walls. Productive baits included crankbaits of various sizes, jigging spoons, Carolina rigs, drop-shots, football jigs and Texas-rigged worms.

 

National Championship Top 10

1. Kyler McKie and Chad Campy, North Augusta Fishing Team – 23-09

2. Brian Linder and Nathan Thompson, Eagan Bass Fishing Club – 22-06

3. Mile Kaneko and Jared De Fremery, Delta Teen Team – 20-00

4. Cal Culpepper and Mason Waddell, Harris County High School – 19-11

5. Hunter Muncrief and Landon McCary, West Sabine – 19-10

6. Hunter Redman and Avery Brown, George Rogers Clark – 17-08

7. Barry Kennedy and Robert Lefere, Titan Fishing – 17-05

8. Garrett Bartlett and Henry Bryan, B&B Fishing – 16-14

9. Gunner Whitaker and Shawn Coots, South Laurel High School – 16-06

9. Braxton Trivett and Chase Goad, Monroe County – 16-06

9. Luke Mchan and Blake Cobb, Fannin County – 16-06

Complete results

 

Walker and Tilghman Lead World Finals Field

McKie and Champy also placed second in the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals, which runs concurrently with the National Championship. All National Championship participants are also competing in the invitational World Finals.

Leading the World Finals are Cort Walker and Lawson Tilghman of Hardin County High School, who caught the day’s biggest bag – a limit of 25-01. Their catch was anchored by a 10-pound, 8-ounce bass that earned Big Fish honors.

“My partner caught that fish on a spot we had been wanting to fish all day, but there were people on it,” Walker says. “We waited until everyone was getting ready to leave, and we hoped we would be able to pick up one at the end of the day. On his first cast, he culls a 3-pounder for a 4 1/2.

“We didn’t have another bite for another 50 casts, but we kept fishing around the spot. We said we had to leave by 3:05 to make the weigh-ins, and at 3:04, right before he starts reeling in his bait, he sees his line jump and he sets the hook.”

“The fish was just digging and digging and digging, and I said, ‘There’s no way this is a bass,’” continues Tilghman. “It never wanted to come up and jump, so I thought it was going to be a drum or big catfish. About 20 yards from the boat, it comes up and does a slow walk across the top.

“We all got to hollering, and I skied him the rest of the way to the net. That was definitely the highlight of the day.”

Tilghman says he caught the big bass on a finesse-style bait that he declines to identify until tournament’s end. He and his partner also caught fish on crankbaits.

“They’re kind of in a funk right now,” Tilghman says of the effects of hot weather and heavy fishing pressure on the Pickwick bass. “You can get them fired up really quick, but you have to get something slow through there to really get the good ones to eat.”

 

World Finals Top 10

1. Cort Walker and Lawson Tilghman, Hardin County High School – 25-01

2. Kyler McKie and Chad Campy, North Agusta – 23-09

3. Brian Linder and Nathan Thompson, Eagan Bass Fishing Club – 22-06

4. Dillian Kilcrease and Gage Struben, West Ouachita Fishing Team – 20-15

5. Miles Kaneko and Jared De Femery, Delta Teen Team – 20-00

6. Cal Culpepper and Mason Waddell, Harris County High School – 19-11

7. Hunter Muncrief and Landen MCcary, West Sabine – 19-10

8. Colby Miller and Cole Moore, Oak Hills High School – 19-02

9. Jerren Gieske and Austin Clanton, Lawrence County – 19-00

10. Konnor Rogers and Luke Robinson, Tremont – 18-13

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2018-06-27-national-championship 

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