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McKie, Champy Still on Top at Pickwick

McKie, Champy Still on Top at Pickwick
Kyler McKie & Chad Champy

Once again, the early bite proved critical for Kyler McKie and Chad Champy, the North Augusta Fishing Team duo that remains atop the 2018 TBF/FLW Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship standings with a two-day total of 37 pounds, 14 ounces.

After posting the event’s heaviest catch, a limit of 23-09 on day one, the leaders added 14-05 today and now hold a 3-ounce lead over the second-place team of Hunter Redman and Avery Brown of George Rogers Clark Cardinal.

Yesterday, McKie and Champy got the show rolling quickly with a 7-13 on their second stop and several more quality fish afterward. Today produced a similar scenario, though with more meager results, and the leaders closed their day with only four keepers.

“Today, we started out good. We caught four pretty quick, and then the rest of the day was pretty slow,” Champy says. “We were getting some bites, but we caught about five or six short fish. We just couldn’t get that fifth keeper.”

McKie admits he got an early case of the high hopes when they started fishing the spot that produced most of their day-one weight.

“Around 7:30, I caught a 6- and a 4-pounder back-to-back,” he says. “I was like ‘man, it’s on.’ But then it just slowed down completely. We had our weight by about 10.”

Champy surmises that today’s windier conditions negatively impacted their offshore fishing.

“It’s harder to stay on our spots and feel the bites,” he says. “It was harder staying in contact with the bottom.”

McKie and Champy are catching their fish by slowly dragging jigs over shallow ledges in about 15 feet of water. While many of their competitors focused on 20-plus feet, the leaders found that their better fish were moving up shallower to feed in the early mornings.

“We were just dragging all day; we haven’t thrown anything else in the tournament,” McKie notes. “A lot of people are throwing moving baits, but we’re trying to slow down and catch the non-active fish. A lot of those fish have seen a lot of lures, so we’re just trying to catch fish that don’t want to bite that moving stuff. It’s just right there for them.

“We had a couple fish hit the jig when it came over something, but with some of them, I’d throw it out there and as soon as it hit the bottom and I’d pick up, they’d be there.”

 

Knocking on the door

Moving up from sixth place on day one, Redman and Brown also benefitted from an early boost. Adding 20-03 to their first-round weight of 17-08, which puts them at 37-11 – just one good cast away from overtaking the leaders.

“Our biggest fish was the first one of the day, about 8 o’clock,” Brown says. “After that big fish, we made a couple of moves. The schools kept moving on us, so we had to adjust to our surroundings.

“Being able to read our graphs was the key. We were looking for shell banks and deep drop-offs from about 10 feet to 30 feet deep.”

Redman and Brown caught all of their fish on flutter spoons.

“That’s all we threw,” Redman says. “We have two rods – one for me, one for him. We haven’t caught a fish on anything else. We found that pattern and pretty much stuck to it.”

 

National Championship top 10

1.      Kyler McKie and Chad Champy, North Augusta Fishing Team – 37-14 (9 fish)

2.      Hunter Redman and Avery Brown, George Rogers Clark Cardinal – 37-11 (10 fish)

3.      Hunter Muncrief and Landon McCary, West Sabine – 36-14 (10 fish)

4.      Easton Fothergill and Alex Timm, Grand Rapids High School – 33-06 (10 fish)

5.      Luke Mchan and Black Cobb, Fannin County High School – 32-11 (10 fish)

6.      Colby Chapman and Will Smith, Gordon Lee High School – 32-11 (9 fish)

7.      Garrett Bartlett and Henry Bryan, B&B Fishing – 32-07 (10 fish)

8.      Garrett McWilliams and Addison Yates, Discovery Christian Lions – 30-04 (10 fish)

9.      James Harper Burkeen and Ethan Hayes, McCracken County Mustangs – 29-14 (10 fish)

10.   Cody Gregory and Thomas Mathis, Obion County Central High School – 29-11 (10 fish)

Complete results

 

World Finals day-two summary

The top two National Championship teams also hold the lead spots in the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals, which runs concurrently with the National Championship.

Much like day one, anglers primarily focused on ledges and offshore structure such as rock rows, shell beds and humps. Some also fished bridges, bluff walls and docks.

 

World Finals top 10

1.      Kyler McKie and Chad Champy, North Augusta Fishing Team – 37-14 (9 fish)

2.      Hunter Redman and Avery Brown, George Rogers Clark Cardinal – 37-11 (10 fish)

3.      Cort Walker and Lawson Tilghman, Hardin County High School – 37-01 (10 fish)

4.      Hunter Muncrief and Landen McCary, West Sabine – 36-14 (10 fish)

5.      Jerren Gieske and Austin Clanton, Lawrence County – 35-02 (10 fish)

6.      Colby Miller and Cole Moore, Oak Hills High School – 34-09 (10 fish)

7.      Griffin Phillips and Fletcher Phillips, Gardendale Rockets – 33-07 (10 fish)

8.      Easton Forhtergill and Alex Timm, Grand Rapids High School – 33-06 (10 fish)

9.      Luke Mchan and Black Cobb, Fannin County High School – 32-11 (10 fish)

10.   Colby Chapman and Will Smith, Gordon Lee High School – 32-11 (9 fish)

Complete results

 

Tournament Details

The National Championship field is cut to the top 10 for day three, which is the final round of that tournament, and the winner is determined by heaviest three-day cumulative weight on Friday. Each member of the winning team receives a $5,000 scholarship to the school of his or her choice, and all 10 finalists automatically advance to Saturday’s final round of the World Finals. 

The World Finals field is cut after two days to the top two teams from each state. Those anglers compete on Friday (when weights are zeroed) in the semi-final round.

Any teams that missed the cut in the National Championship or World Finals will compete on Friday in a separate second-chance round for a shot at making it back into the World Finals competition on Saturday.

Saturday’s field will consist of the 10 National Championship finalists, the top 10 teams from Friday’s semi-final round, and the next 10 teams (highest day-three weight) from the semi-final round and second-chance rounds combined. A Friday night pizza party will include a Lucky Dog Last Chance Wildcard drawing for one team, not already qualified, to compete on day four – bringing the total to 31 teams. Weights are zeroed on the last day, and the World Finals winners are determined by the heaviest catch.

Takeoff is 5:30 a.m. CT at McFarland Park, 200 Jim Spain Drive, Florence, AL 35630. Weigh-in starts at 1:30 p.m. CT

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

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