Ponca City, Okla., August 16, 2013 – Seventy-eight TBF junior anglers launched off the shore of Caddo Lake this morning as the 2013 Junior World Championship presented by FLW began in Bossier City, La. The field consists of two state champion anglers, one in each of the 11-14 and 15-18 age divisions, from state federation across the US. Anglers qualified by fishing locally and on the state level to advance.
Today, the top two anglers from each of the six TBF divisions advance to tomorrow’s final. Those anglers have also been named 2013 Junior Division Champions.
It was a rough day of fishing across the board as several anglers came up empty-handed.
“You’re still a champion; you still learned something,” FLW Pro and star of Hank Parker Outdoors, Hank Parker, continued to encourage.
“If the fish aren’t biting; you can’t catch them,” TBF President, Robert Cartlidge, added.
A group of anglers found a way. They did what was needed to adjust, and found the weights to put them in the finals. Colorado angler, Samuel Pierce, was among the few.
Pierce caught two bass weighing 8lbs 3ounces to advance and earn the title of Western Division champion in the 15-18 age group. Near the Texas border on Caddo Lake, Pierce caught his lunker in the clutch. “Right before the anglers switch ends of the boat I had a frog in the water,” Pierce said. “It was the last cast when I pulled the 4 pounder.”
This might be his first time here, but today Pierce proved he was here to stay. Tomorrow’s final will be the true test.
“I’m pretty nervous. I don’t exactly have a game plan. But, I’m going to spend tonight figuring it out. Then, I’m going to go out there and stick to it.”
“I saw what it took to lead; after today I know what I need,” Kimbrough said. “I think I have a better chance than anybody out there, if I get the right bites, I just got to go out there and crush it.”
This is his last year fishing youth and high school events after years of making it into the finals. Kimbrough is ready for his time.
“I’ve been trying to keep the pressure off. My friend told me, “If you believe it, you can achieve it; if you don’t, you can live without it,” he said. “Tomorrow, I’m going to go out there and just think I’m going to catch them. I’m not fishing against people; I’m fishing to catch fish.”
“It was a tough bite; I didn’t get the right bites,” White said. “I just got to keep my head up and fish for the overs.”
The “overs” refers to the slot limit on Caddo Lake, which involves length of fish brought to the scales, as specified by the rules. Tournament fish must be either shorter than 14inches or larger than 18inches to count without penalty.
Though several anglers had trouble adjusting to the slot limit, White had the only five bass limit today. “I have some fish saved; it seemed like my spot was holding fish left and right, every bank.”
Close behind for the 11-14 age group champion title, is Henry Hilliard from Richmond, Mo. Hilliard had four bass weighing 5lbs 6ounces.
“I caught four fish but they were under the slot limit,” Hilliard said. “I caught them out there under the docks with a shakey head; I got a 17 ½ inch bass, but he just wasn’t going to go.”
This is Hilliard’s first year fishing, not fishing the championship, fishing in general. “I’m doing pretty good I suppose.”
Tomorrow, both new and seasoned junior anglers aim to leave with what they came for, the World Champion titles. It’s bound to be quite a show as the final day of the 2013 Junior
World Championship comes to close on Caddo Lake in Bossier City, La.