UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Top-10 Patterns from Pickwick Lake

Top-10 Patterns from Pickwick Lake
Colby Chapman & Will Smith

The morning bite proved essential for North Augusta’s Kyler Mckie and Chad Champy, who compiled a 3-day total of 57 pounds, 10 ounces and completed the wire-to-wire victory at the 2018 High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. Defeating 383 other teams, the high school juniors earned $10,000 in scholarships ($5,000 each).

Champy and McKie caught their fish on shaky heads over humps near the river channel. Worm selection made a positive difference in their productivity.

Champy and McKie’s Winning Patterns

Complete results

 

 

2. Redman and Brown Take a Close Second

While most of the field relied on a mix of crankbaits, shaky heads, Carolina rigs and dropshots, Avery Brown and Hunter Redman of George Rogers Clark High went big and bold and caught several of their fish on 1 1/2-ounce spoons. Adding a day-three limit of 10-11 to their first two days’ weights – 17-08 and 20-03 – gave them a second-place total of 57-6.

Brown says their choice of baits was intended to stand out from the crowd.

“It’s something different; something the fish hadn’t seen this week,” Brown notes. “So, it was something they were not used to.”

Redman says he and Brown used 7-foot-6 heavy action casting rods and 20-pound-test fluorocarbon for launching the big baits on long casts and for making the most of each bite.

“You just rear back and let her rip,” he says of the requisite casting effort. “You have to get the bait out there as far as you can, but at the same time, you don’t want to cast too far because you have to have enough backbone in that rod to get a hook in that fish.”

Spending most of their time near the Natchez Trace Bridge, Redman and Brown targeted fish in a creek channel. Along with the spoon, they also boated keepers on a custom jig made by Redman’s father. The GRC anglers fitted the jig with a green pumpkin Cabin Creek creature bait and dipped the tails in chartreuse for extra appeal.

Despite finishing a mere 4 ounces behind the winners, Redman says he and Brown aren’t mulling over what might have been.

“We lost a couple of key fish, but we’re going home with no regrets,” he says. “This was our first High School National Championship, so it was a great event. Today (final round) we had nothing to lose, so we swung for the fence.”

 

3. Key Spot Sends Gordon Lee To Third

It’s safe to say that Colby Chapman and Will Smith  will remember a particular little spot on Pickwick Lake for the rest of their fishing careers. Not only did the rock-strewn flat propel the Gordon Lee High team to a third-place finish with 53-01, it gave up a trio of milestone bass.

“We caught three personal bests in three days,” Chapman recalls. “I caught my personal best largemouth (8-12) and Will caught his personal best smallmouth (6-2) and largemouth (8-2). It’s a pretty special spot to us.”

After placing 40th on day one, the Gordon Lee team caught 20-3 on day two and improved to sixth. In the final round, they added 20-6 — the day’s biggest bag — to finish third with 53-01.

“When we started, we had a lot of schools found and that one was our best,” Smith says. “It was a 100-yard stretch of different types of rock amid this flat.

“We set up in a creek channel and threw up on the flat. We started with moving baits and then slowed down as the day went on, according to what the bite told us.”

Dragging a jig and a shaky head with a plum-colored worm produced all of their weight.

 

4. Consistency Key for Fourth-Place Fannin County

Luke Mchan and Bake Cobb kept themselves near the top of the standings with a ninth-place effort on day one, followed by an improvement to fifth on day two and a final placement at number five. Their consistent weights of 16-06, 16-05 and 16-09 gave them a final tally of 49-04.

Mchan says they targeted ledges with shell beds. Current was critical for their bite, as the increased flow of mid-morning positioned their baitfish to the liking of hungry bass. As soon as the TVA started pulling water, the Fannin anglers could count on their windows of opportunity.

“We caught them on a shaky head and a jig,” Cobb says. “When that current ran, you just had to buckle down and drag as slowly as you possibly could.

“Today (day three), we didn't have a limit until 9:30, but once current started, we got a limit pretty quick and then we culled with a 5-pounder about noon.”

The team from Georgia’s Blueridge country says their Peach Tree State home water helped them enjoy the opportunity to sample Pickwick’s quality fishery.

“My favorite memory will be the size of fish we caught,” Cobb notes. “Where I’m from, a 3- or 4-pounder is a big one, but a 5-pounder is nothing here.”

 

5. Grand Rapids Drags Into Fifth

For Grand Rapids High School’s Easton Fothergill and Alex Timm, slow, methodical dragging was the key to their fifth-place finish. The anglers posted weights of 15-03, 18-03 and 15-05 to finish with a tournament total of 48-11.

The team’s bait selection included a Texas-rigged twister-tail worm in plum color and a 3/4-ounce jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer. Effective as it was, Timm says their strategy came about by default.

“We couldn’t get bit power fishing,” he says. “That’s what we did the first two pre-fish days and we didn’t catch a single fish over 15 inches. So we switched it up the third day and got a few bites.

“We didn’t have too much confidence until the first day of the tournament. Then we gained more and more confidence as the tournament went on.”

Fothergill says a cadence of slow-dragging with long pauses seemed to be most effective retrieve. Timm says they identified their best spot during practice, compliments of the Pickwick food chain.

“In pre-fishing, we found a spot that didn’t look like it had any fish, but bass were pushing shad up in front of us, so we marked the spot,” he says. “We came back in the tournament and on the first day, we only got one fish; but the second and third days, we got pretty much our whole limits there.”

 

6. West Sabine Works Sweet Spot on Ledges

Call it a happy medium — the midzone of a steep ledge where Hunter Muncrief and Landen McCary found enough fish to earn a sixth-place finish with 48-09 for West Sabine High.

McCary says their main spot dropped from about 14 feet into 40. The fish were positioning about halfway up, in about 20 to 22 feet.

“We just ground that spot,” McCary says. “They were positioned like they weren’t really ready to go out deep, but they were halfway there.

“The first day, we caught almost 20 pounds there. We fired up a school of 4-pounders that we knew were in the area. The second day, we couldn’t fire that school, but we got a 7-pounder there. On the last day, we went back and ground, but we could only get four.”

A 1/2- to 5/8-ounce football head jig with a V&M Wild Thang Craw Jr. or a V&M J-Bug trailer produced all of their fish. Muncrief says the right cast was throwing upstream from a downstream position and dragging up the ledge.

“Those fish being a little deeper and stationed about halfway helped, because not many people could find that spot and fire up that school,” Muncrief says.

 

7. Too Much Current for B&B Fishing Team

Too much of a good thing can end up become a bad thing. Just ask Garrett Bartlett and Henry Bryan, who turned in a top-tier performance from the start, but saw their hopes dimming with the final day’s conditions.

“They pulled a lot of current today (final round) and it cleared out all the big fish and the little fish moved in,” Bartlett says. “We didn’t catch nearly as many fish as we did on day two, but we did have a few keeper bites.”

Bartlett and Bryan placed eighth on day one with 16-14 and gained a spot the next day when they added 15-09. Unfortunately, they only found three keepers in the final round and finished at seventh with 41-13.

Bryan said he and his partner caught their fish on a crankbaits, spinnerbaits and a 5/18-ounce hair jig. They matched their baits to habitat and depth – cranking deep rocky bottom, using hair jigs on steep drops and spinnerbaits up shallow for limit fish.

 

8. Obion County Scrambles Into Eighth

After a 25th-place effort day one, Obion County High School’s Cody Gregory and Thomas Mathis gained 15 spots on day two and secured their final-round berth at tenth with 41-12. The anglers entered day one with what they considered a solid game plan, but as the event progressed they were compelled to take more of a run-and-gun approach.

“The weekend before the cut-off, we did some pre-fishing and were catching 16 to 18 pounds a day, which we knew would be enough to keep us in the running,” Mathis says. “We pre-fished those areas before the tournament and we caught fish, but we were lacking the size. We had eight schools of fish located, but on tournament morning we could only get on one of them.

“Rather than fish community holes, we’d go scan and try to find our own new spots. We ended up stumbling onto a big school of fish and that’s where we caught our two biggest on day two. We went back on day three and the school was nowhere to be found, so we had to just go scratch up a limit and it was good enough for eighth place.”

Gregory says he and his teammate caught their fish on dropshots with Roboworm straight-tail worm and a Strike King KVD Dream Shot – both in the morning dawn color – as well as a jig plus a Carolina rig with a 3/4-ounce tungsten weight and Missile Baits D Stroyer in watermelon red.

 

9. McCracken County Slips on Day Three

Ethan Hayes and Harper Burkeen caught 15-15 on day one to place 13th, then secured their final-round berth by moving up to ninth on day two with a limit of 13-15. On day three, they added 9-13 to finish ninth with 39-11.

“We started fishing ledges, but we went into the backs of some coves where we started seeing a bunch of shad busting,” Hayes says. “We were really just trying to get on some schooling fish.”

Burkeen described their most productive area as an old road bed with about 7 feet of water on top, 13 on the bottom.

“We found this spot in practice and the first day of the tournament we had a limit by 7:30,” he says. “Today [third day], there was a bunch of bait on it, but there was a bunch of shorts on it.”

Hayes thinks the lack of wind and current on their spot made for a tougher day three and they ended with only two keepers. Texas-rigged Zoom Old Monster worms with 1/2-ounce tungsten weights produced most of their fish, with a jig adding a couple more.

 

10. Experience

Addison Yates and Garrett McWilliams, of Discovery Christian School, placed 46th on day one with 11-08, but sacked up 18-12 on the second day and ascended to eighth. They struggled in the final round and after catching a lone keeper for 3-01, finished tenth with 33-05.

Targeting ledges in 20 feet was their game plan all week and Yates says their experience in last year’s National Championship – also on Pickwick – provided helpful reference.

“We decided to go with a green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko on a shaky head,” she reveals. “We fished slowly on the bottom. That’s what we’re used to back home in Mississippi, so it worked here too.”

McWilliams says they were sitting in 18-24 feet of water and throwing onto 13- to 15-foot flats. They’d drag their baits toward the edge, with most of their bites occurring close to the drop. The morning bite was most productive for them.

 

 

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

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