CULLMAN, Ala. — When Will Haynes and Austin Thomas found the food, they found enough bass to catch a 13-pound, 8-ounce limit that delivered a narrow victory at the Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Series at Lewis Smith Lake presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.
Spending their day in the mid-lake region, Haynes and Thomas, both Curry High School seniors, edged Benjamin Travis and Andrew Kunz of Spain Park High School by 8 ounces.
“We got a bite in 30 to 40 feet and we were fishing in ditches for fish suspended under blueback herring,” Thomas said. “We found the key areas in practice, but we just didn’t know that amount of fish was there until today.
“We caught two right off the bat and then it was kind of slow until about 11 o’clock. We finally got it keyed in and that’s when we got our keeper bites.”
The winners caught their bass on Reaction Innovations Little Dipper swimbaits fished on 8-pound fluorocarbon. Haynes said the smoke gray color best matched the natural forage.
“We used the Garmin LiveScope a pretty good bit today,” Haynes said. “We would find them suspended and throw about 5 to 10 yards past them and bring it right in front of their face and they would just kill it.
“We had to throw at some of them more than once, but eventually, we got them to bite.”
Haynes said he and his partner caught seven of the nine fish that bit. They had their limit by noon and amassed their winning total, which included a 3-6, by 2 p.m.
“We rotated between two to three main areas,” Thomas said. “One spot ended up being more productive. It was a high spot in a ditch with brush on top. The herring would suspend over the brush and that’s where we caught our fish.”
Haynes said that, while he and Thomas tried multiple techniques in practice, they realized the fish were not biting larger baits. They entered the tournament knowing smaller presentations on light line would be their best option.
Joe Vaulton and Walker LaRue of Alcoa High School finished third with 11-15.
Tanner Mason and Landon Sims of DAR High School won the Big Bass award for their 4-5.
The tournament was hosted by the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce.
- 2022 Bassmaster High School Series Title Sponsor: Abu Garcia
- 2022 Bassmaster High School Series Presenting Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors
- 2022 Bassmaster High School Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
- 2022 Bassmaster High School Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
- 2022 Bassmaster High School Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Strike King, Triton Boats, VMC
- 2022 Bassmaster High School Series Youth Sponsors: Shimano, SPRO