LEESBURG, Fla. — They had eight lakes and 75,000 acres at their disposal, but Connor Kennedy and Hayden Johns of the Mulberry High School Junior Bass Club needed only a 40-yard stretch to catch a limit of 21 pounds, 7 ounces and win the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Junior Series at the Harris Chain of Lakes.
Anchoring their bag with two kickers that went 6-9 and 5-5, the winners took home $704 for their club and earned a berth in the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Junior Series National Championship (dates and location to be determined).
Kennedy said he and Johns caught all of their bass in the Dora Canal, which links its namesake lake with Lake Eustis. They caught their fish on blue-tailed Bitter’s Vibe Worms Texas-rigged on 4/0 hooks with 3/16-ounce weights.
“We stayed in one spot all day and fished flowing water,” Kennedy said. “It dipped down and there were logs on the bottom. We’d just throw up current and let our baits drift down until it hit the logs and you’d have to set the hook. A slow presentation worked best.”
Johns said their day-maker arrived after the water had time to settle from a busy morning.
“We caught the 5-5 around 11 and we didn’t have anything for a while, then we got that 6-9 around 12:30,” he said. “There was a lot of boat traffic in the canal (earlier), but after it slowed down, (Kennedy) caught that big fish.”
Dylan Holcomb and Maddox Taunton of the Liberty County Anglers finished second with 17-0.
Mason Grose and Sailor McKinney of the Southern West Virginia Jr. Bassmasters finished third with 16-4.
Kennedy and Johns won the Big Bass award with their 6-9.
2021 Bassmaster Junior Series Title Sponsor: Mossy Oak Fishing
2021 Bassmaster Junior Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2021 Bassmaster Junior Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2021 Bassmaster Junior Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Bass Pro Shops, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Rapala, TNT Fireworks