The Travelers Rest High School fishing team demolished the competition in the 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Florida Open on Lake Okeechobee this past weekend. Their 26-pound, 8-ounce sack was 16-pounds heavier than the second-place team, and gave them the win in the first Student Angler Federation event of 2016.
The win also qualifies the Travelers Rest team of Jacob Smith and Daniel Clark for the High School Fishing Southeastern Conference Championship, which will be held on Lake Cumberland, Kentucky this fall.
It’s always nice to get a big “kicker fish” during a tournament, but Smith and Clark did better than that, getting two fish that weighed over ten-pounds apiece. Their 12-pound, 1-ounce bruiser gave them the Lew’s Big Bass Award of the tournament, and they had one other bass over 10-pounds as well. Their overall weight was the biggest 5-bass limit of the entire weekend, which also included the three-day Costa FLW Series event.
The tournament didn’t start off all that great. Heavy winds and rain caused a one-hour delay, and for safety reasons, tournament officials decided to restrict the legal fishing boundaries to the Kissimmee River. It didn’t slow down the Travelers Rest team one bit. They found a great fishing hole and stayed put all day.
“With all the rain, we just went looking for clean water and found a drainage ditch that dumped into a canal off the main river. Our spot had a nice mix of rock and a few weed mats that all came together, and it appeared that these bass had the baitfish pushed up into that short ditch,” Smith said.
Not only did they find the right spot early on, they also fished the same lure all day.
“We caught all of our fish on a Livingston Crankbait in Guntersville Craw color,” said Clark, who like Smith, is a junior at Travelers Rest.
Smith and Clark where the only team not from the state of Florida to finish in the top three, and one of only two teams not from Florida to finish in the top ten. They will feel much more at home on Feb. 21, as the next Student Angler Federation event comes to the Palmetto State at Lake Hartwell for the Carolina Early Bird Open.
If you know of a high school that would like to compete in the FLW’s High School Fishing trail, click here.
-Click here to post your own fishing stories and photos.