UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Mckie and Champy Win National Championship Nail Biter

Mckie and Champy Win National Championship Nail Biter
Kyler Mckie & Chad Champy

Kyler Mckie and Chad Champy entered the final day of the 2018 TBF/FLW Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake with a whisper-thin lead of 3 ounces, but after catching a limit of 19 pounds, 12 ounces the North Augusta Fishing Team duo sealed the deal with a three-day total of 57-10. The impressive sack earned them $10,000 in scholarships ($5,000 each).

McKie and Champy held off a solid charge from Hunter Redman and Avery Brown, who entered day three in second place and ended up just 5 ounces away from overtaking the leaders. After adding 19-11 to their weights of 17-08 and 20-03 boated in the first two rounds, the George Rogers Clark duo finished with 57-06.

Posting the tournament’s heaviest catch — 23-09 — on day one buoyed McKie and Champy’s chances at the big prize. Their productivity slipped to 14-05 on day two, but catching a kicker that went 7-01 in the final round provided the momentum they needed to cross the finish line.

“I’m speechless; this probably won’t set in until I get home,” McKie says. “It’s an honor to win this.”

“We really wanted this so bad,” adds Champy. “The past few years, Kyler has been working so hard for this, and I’m thankful that he chose me to come with him this year.”

The winners caught most of their fish on a small hump that rose to 9 feet under the surface, with a 30-foot drop-off on the river channel side. Surmising that the spot would reload enough to last them three days, McKie nevertheless figured that staking their fortunes on it went against the ledge pattern he had explored in practice.

“We fished a lot of places in practice, and when we pulled up on that spot, it looked off-the-wall; nothing like we’d been fishing,” he says. “My dad dropped down and lost one about 7 or 8 pounds, and I said, ‘Let’s go. We know there are some good ones here.'

“We fished the spot the first day of the tournament, caught two big ones, left and came back and lost a big one; then caught another big one. Yesterday [Thursday], we caught two big ones; today, we caught two big ones. It didn’t seem like all those big fish were on there at one time, but a few big fish kept getting on it each day.”

Day one saw the North Augusta anglers start on a different spot where they caught one of their weigh-in fish – a 4-pounder – before filling their limit. Day two nearly torpedoed their campaign, though, as the duo committed to their main spot, but then left with only four keepers.

Day three proved more generous, and despite a brief visit to another spot, they ended up bagging their limit on that single, inconspicuous hump.

The winners caught their fish on 1/2-ounce black shaky heads. They started day three with Zoom Magnum Trick Worms in plum and red bug, but made a key switch to end the day on a strong note.

“We changed our shaky-head worms later in the day to give the fish a different look,” Champy notes. “We ended up catching two keepers to wind up with about 15 minutes left.”

 

National Championship top 10

1. Kyler McKie and Chad Champy, North Augusta Fishing Team — 57-10 (14 fish)

2. Hunter Redman and Avery Brown, George Rogers Clark Cardinal — 57-06 (15 fish)

3. Colby Chapman and Will Smith, Gordon Lee High School — 53-01 (14 fish)

4. Luke Mchan and Blake Cobb, Fannin County High School — 49-04 (15 fish)

5. Easton Forthergill and Alex Timm, Grand Rapids High School — 48-11 (15 fish)

6. Hunter Muncrief and Landon McCary, West Sabine — 48-09 (14 fish)

7. Garrett Bartlett and Henry Bryan, B&B Fishing — 41-13 (13 fish)

8. Cody Gregory and Thomas Mathis, Obion County Central High School — 41-12 (15 fish)

9. James Harper Burkeen and Ethan Hayes, McCracken County Mustangs — 39-11 (12 fish)

10. Garrett McWilliams and Addison Yates, Discovery Christian Lions — 33-05 (11 fish)

 

World Finals conclude 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

Champy says he and his teammate are looking forward to Saturday’s final round of competition. They’ll carry the requisite focus and determination into the fishing day, but they’ll definitely be more relaxed now that their National Championship quest is settled.

“It’s such a relief to have this in my arms right now, it just takes so much pressure off,” Champy told the weigh-in crowd of several hundred as he cradled the championship trophy in his arms. “Now, we have to go do it again tomorrow for the World Finals.”

For the full field of Saturday’s World Finals, go to highschoolfishing.org

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

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