UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Matthews, Stephenson Crowned High School Champs

Matthews, Stephenson Crowned High School Champs

Day 2 Photos

Day 1 Photos

 

As the top five teams in the 2016 FLW/TBF Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship waited backstage at the Walmart No. 1 in Rogers, Ark., for their chance to weigh in prior the Walmart FLW Tour Beaver Lake final weigh-in, they tried to hide the nerves and anticipation as best they could. But it was clear that this was a monumental moment in their short fishing careers. When the scales closed and Tyler Matthews and Blake Stephenson of Georgia were declared the champions, there was both excitement and disappointment displayed among the teams.

These 10 young anglers competed in local, state and regional tournaments to reach the right to battle for the National Championship on Table Rock Lake this weekend. The field began on Saturday with 12 teams and was cut to the top five after day one, but in the end only one team could earn the title of champion.

Matthews and Stephenson report catching their entire bag both days using shaky heads rigged with green pumpkin craw imitators. They weighed in a two-day total of 27 pounds, 1 ounce.

“I used a Buckeye Lures Sled rigged with a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw the entire tournament,” Matthews says. “Nothing else I threw would catch the bigger fish.”

Stephenson utilized the same Speed Craw in green pumpkin but opted for a different jighead.

“When I fish a shaky head, the only one I use is a Green Fish Tackle Creeper Head,” he says.

Matthews competed in his final event as a high school angler. He qualified last year for this event prior to graduating in June from Clarks High School in Evans, Ga. Matthews is making plans to attend college in the fall of 2016 but has yet to decide on a school. When not working, he spends his free time pursuing his passion for fishing.

Stephenson will complete eighth grade this year in Evans. When he finds free time from his studies, he enjoys being outdoors and fishing.

On championship day, thick clouds blocked the rising sun, the wind was from the south at 5 to 10 mph and the air temperature climbed from 61 degrees at takeoff. However, as the day proceeded, the situation changed rapidly. By 10 a.m., conditions became mostly sunny, the wind was out of the south at 15 to 20 mph and the air temperature reached 72 degrees.

The changing weather conditions helped some teams while hindering others. In addition, the check-in was moved forward to accommodate the time necessary to travel from Kimberling City, Mo., to Rogers, Ark. This early check-in hampered a few teams. Here’s how the rest of the top five made out.

 

2. Chase Myers and Cole Swede, Anvil Jaw Bass Club, Ark. - 25-06

On day two, Chase Myers and Cole Swede had a five-bass limit by 10 a.m.

“We caught all of our keepers on an A-Rig today,” Myers says.

The umbrella rig helped the Arkansas anglers tap a prespawn pattern.

“The bass we caught were staging to spawn between 4 and 10 feet deep,” adds Swede.

Both seniors, Myers and Swede have completed their High School Fishing careers and have plans to attend college in the fall and, hopefully, spend as much time as possible fishing.

 

3. Zeke Gossett, Pell City High School, and Ryan Shields, Hazelgreen High School, Ala. - 19-14

In the third spot is the Alabama team of Zeke Gossett and Ryan Shields.

“We caught our fish on a variety of lures today,” Shields says.

“We caught our four keepers today on a shaky-head worm, Strike King KVD jerkbaits and a Strike King titanium umbrella rig,” Gossett adds.

Gossett and Shields are both college freshman. They attend Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala., and Wallace State University in Hanceville, Ala., respectively.

 

4. Daniel Hechler and Cole Wessner, Cincinnati Colerain High School, Ohio - 19-07

Cincinnati, Ohio, anglers Daniel Hechler and Cole Wessner used a variety of lures during the two-day tournament.

“The Ned Rig was our most productive lure,” Wessner says. “We rigged it with a Z-Man finesse worm.”

“Our best bite was late in the day,” adds his partner, “and I think the early check-in hurt us some. Our bigger fish were caught later in the day in practice and on day one.”

 

5. Daelyn Whaley and Carter McNeil, Abbeville High School, S.C. - 13-14

Rounding out the top five is the team of Daelyn Whaley and Carter McNeil. The South Carolina anglers struggled on the final day as their pattern fell apart. They brought just one bass to the scale.

 

Final Standings

1. Tyler Matthews and Blake Stephenson – 27 pounds, 1 ounce

2. Chase Myers and Col Swede – 25 pounds, 6 ounces

3. Zeke Gossett and Ryan Shields – 19 pounds, 14 ounces

4. Daniel Hechler and Cole Wessner – 19 pounds, 7 ounces

5. Daelyn Whaler and Carter McNeil – 13 pounds, 14 ounces

6. Tristan Thomas and Dakota Crumley – 10 pounds, 4 ounces.

7. James Ingram and Chase Gallaway – 9 pounds, 9 ounces

8. Kyler Fugate – 6 pounds, 15 ounces

9. Eric Glenn and Nathan McPherson – 5 pounds, 3 ounces

10. Colin Steck and Nate Lorenz – 4 pounds, 2 ounces

Tags: hsf-championship  table-rock  high-school-fishing  marc-rogers  article 

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