This past Saturday the state high school bass fishing championship was help at Summit Reservoir near Tekamah. There was an excellent story on the event in the Sunday “World Herald”, http://www.omaha.com/article/20120728/SPORTS07/707289861 . Besides Dave Hendee’s excellent story, let me share some photos and tell some stories.
There were 16 teams that fished; 6 teams from North Platte, 3 teams from Omaha, a couple of teams from Lincoln, a team from Blair, Gretna, Papillion, Fremont, Ashland/Wahoo, and Kearney (the Kearney team had a breakdown on the way, had to get a quick repair and ended up being an expensive trip–Thanks for making it, guys!),
“Blast off” was at 7:00 a.m. Well, as much “blast off” as you can have with a 5 mph, no-wake, speed limit.
Around the corner and start fishing.
Each boat had two contestants and a boat driver. Boat drivers volunteered their time and equipment, so I want to give a special “shout out” to them here; Bill Warrick, Ryan Pashby, Frank Soe, Kent Priel, Kyle Branecki, Bryan Shaw, Steve White, Kelley Bailey, Kevin Cox, Camron Armstrong, Alan Luetkenhaus, Jeff Mumm, Lee Wubbles, Ben Pavelka, Burce Dreesen, and Doug Zimbelman–THANK YOU!!!
Boat captains obviously ran the boats and could coach and assist the high school anglers, but they could not fish. Here you see Kyle Branecki from Omaha giving some advice.
Making a pass in front of the tournament headquarters.
Does a mink running down the shoreline mean good luck? (look close)
Do not forget our sponsors!!!!!
East shoreline getting fished pretty hard.
Everyone needs a good net man!
Waiting for the weigh-in.
Coming in, weigh-in starts at 1:00 p.m.
Standing around waiting.
I had to grin to myself while we were waiting for the weigh-in to get started. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife, it was a typical fishing tournament weigh-in; everyone wondering what everyone else had caught, no one wanting to “tip their hand”, “poker faces” all around, “who caught fish?”, “did I catch enough?”
Here we go!
The Bass Federation, Nebraska, guys brought their weigh-in equipment and ran the weigh-in. That was fantastic and again I want to say a big THANK YOU to TBF Nebraska, http://www.tbfnebraska.org/ .
Gotta say a few words for the crowd; still pretty quiet about how the fish were caught.
Of course, gotta have some fish pictures. I believe the fish on the left was big fish, caught by Payne Ahrens (please forgive me if I have pictures and names wrong).
And here are the winners! Zach Madsen and Matt Neiburg of Blair. The boys came through on their “home” water.
Zach and Matt were one of the first teams to weigh-in and then they sweated it out as the rest of the teams weighed. Towards the end you could see they were starting to feel a little more confident, and then they were grinning from ear-to-ear when they realized they had won! Well done, guys!
Most, if not all, of the teams caught fish, but many of them did not catch a fish larger than the 15-inch minimum requirement. It was a typical day of fishing in late July, a tough bite. Of course you know there were about 15 excuses for not catching fish, but one thing I love about fishing tournaments is you put a bunch of anglers on a body of water at the same time, make it competitive, and usually someone will figure out how to catch at least a few.
I got Zach and Matt to talk a little more after the tournament. I am sure their familiarity with Summit was an advantage; you could say they were the local favorites. They used whacky-rigged plastic worms to scratch some fish, but most of those fish were too small. Crankbaits caught their legal fish, if I remember right, Strike King KVD crankbaits to be exact, http://www.strikeking.com/ . From what I could gather they did not fish real deep, 6-13-feet and were successful on a couple of spots where they could crank their baits around and off some stumps or a drop-off. They were the only team to weigh more than 3 fish, that is why they won, and they told me the last two they caught came in the last hour or so of fishing! So, they caught fish at mid-day, and once again they proved that a person should never give up!
Anyhow, Zach and Matt were very excited to win, and so were their families. It was a lot of fun to spend some time talking to all of them afterwards. They are now qualified to fish the regional high school championship later this fall at a site yet to be announced. The bar has been set high, Nebraska boys smoked the field in that regional tournament last year, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2011/10/regional-champs/ .
I have blogged about the high school bass fishing program before, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/06/nebraska-high-school-fishing/ . This is another fishing recruitment program targeted at high school kids and we would like to see it take off. If you are interested in getting involved either as a student, a sponsor or helper, please follow the links I have posted and get involved!
This is the second year a championship has been held, and the numbers blossomed from 6 teams that entered last year to 16 teams this year. I hope there are even more next year!
P.S. Just got this video of the event, take some time and watch it!