A tough bite paired with extreme pressure and heat, followed by a blizzard of rain lakeside didn’t stop 82 TBF youth state champions today, on day one of the 2010 National Guard Junior World Championship on Lake Lanier. Anglers traveled from 41 different states to face off in this national contest knowing today it was all or nothing to decide who would advance. 12 young anglers pushed ahead despite all odds, solidifying their spots on the final day of competition to crown this year’s National Guard Junior World Champions and pronouncing them Division Champions. The top two anglers from each of the six TBF divisions advance, one from each age group, 11-14/15-18, to comprise the final twelve. The crowd waited in the midst of a storm, soaked and still cheering on these young anglers as each state champion walked across the stage. It was definitely a day for the record books. Tomorrow will echo that as 12 Division Champions take-off from Laurel Park on Lake Lanier right alongside the FLW Pro’s. Of the final 12, the top finishers from each age group will walk away proving to the nation they have the right to be called champions.
The tournament big bag goes to Drake Young, from Lincoln, Mo., representing the 15-18 year olds as the TBF Youth Central Division Champion. Young caught a total of four fish weighing 6lb 7ounces.
“I’m really excited,” Young said. “I just went out there and caught fish today and had fun!” Young also caught the most keepers. “I don’t know what I did differently; I guess I just found more fish.” Young plans to stick with the same approach tomorrow, but other than that he’s not looking too far ahead. “Winning tomorrow, really I haven’t thought about it; I’m just not thinking that far ahead, yet.” His strategy placed him on top, but only 1lb 2ounces separate his closest competition.
Greg Zellers, from Winamac, Ind., is the TBF Northern Division Champion in the 15-18 age group, and in second place overall. Zellers brought in two keepers today weighing 5lb 5ounces. “It’s just a world of change, an unbelievable event,” Zellers said. Zellers fished mostly deeper water today, but plans to switch his stroke up tomorrow and fish shallower. “I just want to thank everyone that made this possible and TBF/FLW, Berkley and Ranger Boats; to be able to go into the second day is just a dream come true.”
Weighing in 3lbs today is Regan Green, from Macon, Ga., with two bass claiming the Southern Division title and the top spot overall in the 11-14 age group. “Really, I’m excited, eager” Green said. “I have a good plan going into tomorrow.” Green lost two keepers mid day and plans to go hunting tomorrow. “I lost a five and a four pounder that would have brought me way over the top.” He caught one fish on top water around 9:30 with a little spook and the second on a drop shot. “I’ll definitely plan on the same thing tomorrow; I’m anxious but ready to go.”
Adrian Forbes, from Fairfield Vt., is the Eastern Division Champion in the younger age bracket. “I really didn’t think I was going to make it,” Forbes said. “I didn’t have much confidence to begin with but now I’ve got a lot; I got a lot from this place.”