Fishing & Boating News

Alabama Anglers Play It Cool To Win Bassmaster High School National Championship On Kentucky Lake

by: JamieDay Matthews,

Grayson Morris (right) and Tucker Smith of Briarwood Christian School won the 2018 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School National Championship  on Kentucky Lake with a 3-day total weight of 50 lb, 2 oz.
Photo by Ronnie Moore/B.A.S.S.
(Aug 5, 2018 - Paris,TN) Keying on the coolest water they could find made winners of Grayson Morris and Tucker Smith during the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series National Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods at Kentucky Lake.

The Briarwood Christian School anglers caught an 18-pound, 9-ounce limit of five bass in today’s final round to clinch the championship with a three-day total of 50 pounds, 2 ounces.

The Alabama anglers were fishing shallow all three days in the back of a major creek and keyed on a spot they thought was a spring or cold-water run-in because it featured bubbling water and water temperatures about 10 degrees less than the surrounding water. “The water dropped about a foot last night, which was really shocking to us,” said the 17-year-old Morris.

“Going into today, it was really weird,” said Morris, a high school senior. “We thought we had beaten the bank really hard where we had been fishing the past two days because we would go up and down it about four times a day. We didn’t know if there any more fish in there.”

They began each morning by catching a few keeper bass in lily pads with a watermelon Stanley Ribbit toad, but when the sun got higher, they targeted shady banks with brush. Morris flipped a green pumpkin 1/2-ounce jig tipped with a black-and-blue Strike King Rage Menace spilt-tail grub inside the bushes while Smith, a 16-year-old junior, worked the outside of the bushes with a white Z-Man ChatterBait.

“Each day we had different bites; some were where it was shady up under a tree, and some were on the outside of the shade,” Morris said.

“We knew there was brush under some of the trees we were fishing, so we skipped our baits up under the trees. If we felt brush, we would drag it through the brush all the way out,” Morris said. “If not we would hop it a few times and pull it out.”

They missed some bass early today on the buzz frog and before moving to their cold-water spot, which Smith said was about the size of a tire. “Those fish were just stacked in there,” Smith said. “Every 20 minutes, we would come back through and there would be another 3-plus-pounder on it.” 

On their first stop at the spring, the Alabama anglers caught a 3 1/2- and 4 1/2-pounder. They returned later to complete their limit and clinch the championship.

“This win means everything because fishing is all I do,” Smith said. “We don’t do any sports any more. We are all just fishermen.”

“We worked hard to get here,” Morris added. “The win is a big confidence booster, but it is also a humbling experience because we got to see all these other great anglers here representing their schools and states.”

The tournament included 670 anglers on 337 high school teams from across the nation and three countries.

The high school competitors were awarded $22,000 in scholarship funds from B.A.S.S. and its sponsors. Bethel University presented $96,000 in scholarship money to the top two teams if they choose to attend the school in McKenzie, Tenn. Morris and Smith each earned $2,000 in scholarship money from B.A.S.S. and sponsors and $28,000 scholarships for four years from Bethel University.

A pair of Abu Garcia Revo baitcast reels were awarded to Leominster High School anglers Teddy Peznola and Nate Smith, who weighed in the big bass of the tournament, a 9-6 largemouth.

2018 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series Title Sponsor: Mossy Oak Fishing

2018 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series Presenting Sponsor: DICK’S Sporting Goods

2018 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series Premier Sponsors: Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, ABU Garcia, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota
 
2018 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
 
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.