Fishing & Boating News

South Carolina’s Chesnee High School Wins 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Carolina Open On Lake Hartwell

by: Mark Gintert, TBF Youth Director,

Chesnee High School duo of Zack Roberts and Chase Botts from Chesnee, South Carolina, brought a 5-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 17 lbs even to win.
Photo by Mark Gintert, TBF Youth Director
(Feb 22, 2016 - ANDERSON, S.C.)

The Chesnee High School duo of Zack Roberts and Chase Botts from Chesnee, South Carolina, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 17 pounds even to win the 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Carolina Early Bird Open on Lake Hartwell. The win earned the team the title and qualified the team to compete in the High School Fishing Southeastern Conference championship on Lake Cumberland in Somerset, Kentucky on September 16-17.

“I threw a Berkley Bad Shad No. 7 crankbait almost all day,” said Botts, a junior at Chesnee. “I slow-rolled it over the rocks to catch most of my fish.”

Roberts, a senior at Chesnee, used an Alabama Rig, which he also slow-rolled  to catch his fish. “I think we caught seven largemouths and nine or ten stripers, which just kept us hoping.”

When asked what the key to their success the duo said, “Staying focused on the fish we found.”

Seventy-eight teams from four different states competed in the tournament. The Lew’s Big Bass Award was won by the Gilmer High School Club of Grant Ledford and Isaac Colwell with a 5-pound, 9-ounce bass.

The top three teams on Lake Hartwell that advanced to the Southeastern Conference championship were:
  1st:       Chesnee High School, Chesnee, S.C. – Zack Roberts and Chase Botts, five bass, 17-0
  2nd:      Travelers Rest High School, Travelers Rest, S.C. – Hunter Harrison and Oakley Conner, five bass, 13-13
  3rd:       Abbeville High School, Abbeville, S.C. – Daelyn Whaley and Drake Boyd, four bass, 12-3
Rounding out the top 10 teams were:
  4th:       Greenbrier High School, Evans, Ga. – Cy Casey and Tanner Hadden, five bass, 11-8
  5th:       Backwoods Bass Boys – Hunter McKee, Thomasville, N.C., and Ryan Zayonce Trinity, N.C., five bass, 11-2
  6th:       Gilmer High School, Ellijay, Ga.  – Grant Ledford and Isaac Colwell, four bass, 10-7
  7th:       Palmetto High School, Williamston, S.C. – Chase Stroud and Coby Davis, five bass, 10-1
  8th:       North Augusta High School, North Augusta, S.C. – Sean Hall and Kyler McKie, three bass, 9-12
  9th:       Jefferson High School, Jefferson, Ga. – Cole Wood and Will Wood, five bass, 9-11
  10th:     Trojan Bass Team – Christian Bonar and Seth Bonar, both of Danville, Va., five bass, 9-6

The 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Carolina Early Bird Open was a two-person (team) event for students in grades 7-12. The top three teams from each of the seven TBF/FLW High School Fishing Opens held this season, along with the top 10 percent from each TBF/FLW state championship field will advance to a High School Fishing conference championship.  The top 10 percent of each conference championship field will then advance to the High School Fishing National Championship, coinciding with the TBF National Championship and an FLW Tour stop in the spring of 2017. The High School Fishing national champions will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice.

In addition to the High School Fishing National Championship, all High School Fishing anglers nationwide automatically qualify for the world’s largest high school bass tournament, the 2016 High School Fishing World Finals. At the 2015 World Finals more than $20,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded. Visit for details.

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.

The Bass Federation Inc., (TBF) is a member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. TBF is owned by those we serve and dedicated to the sport of fishing. The Federation is the largest and oldest, organized grassroots fishing, youth and conservation organization there is. TBF, our affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 events each year and have provided a foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 45 years. TBF founded the Student Angler Federation and the National High School Fishing program in 2007 to promote clean family fun and education through fishing