Aug. 10, 2012, Gainesville, GA – Twelve junior anglers advanced today on Lake Lanier to fish tomorrow in hopes of being crowned World Champion on Lake Lanier near Gainesville, Ga. The state champions from two age divisions from forty-one states competed today; only six division winners from the 11-14 and 15-18 age groups move on to fish tomorrow.
The kids witnessed a one of a kind dream this morning and hopes of what their future could hold. The day one leader of the Forrest Wood Cup was Jacob Wheeler, 21 year-old former Indiana Bass Federation Junior Angler, who is making quite a name for himself at such a young age in the pro ranks.
These junior anglers were allowed to fish on the same body of water as the pros, at Little River and Wahoo Creek. They launched immediately after the FLW Forrest Wood Cup contenders at Laurel Park this morning.
It was a tough day for the majority of the anglers, only one limit of fish was brought in. The ones that did figure out a pattern, dropshotting seemed to be the key.
Cowart weighed in the largest fish of the tournament, which happened to be his only fish. It was a nice one, a 5 lb 6 oz largemouth. He also had the heaviest weight overall for the 11-14 age anglers. “I caught it on a dropshot in about 15 feet of water, pullin’ it off a bank and working it back into the deeper water,” said Cowart.
Duarte was the overall winner of the 15-18 age group with 4 fish that weighed 8 lbs even. “I’m pretty sure I can catch the fish I caught today, tomorrow. I’m dropshotting the rocks, catching spots and largemouth,” said Duarte.
Going out in boat number 2 is Georgia 15-18 age Angler, Regan Green of Macon. Green caught the only limit of the tournament. “Today was a pretty good day. I stuck to what I did during practice and it paid off for me. I plan on doing the same thing tomorrow, fishing worms, slow. I am using a dropshot, shaky head, Texas Rig and trick worms in about 25 foot of water,” said Green. The Southern Division in the 15-18 age group was very tough this year. There were several lead changes, but Green had 7 lbs 10 oz to move on to fish tomorrow to beat out good weights brought in by the North Carolina and Kentucky State Champions.
Green’s partner is Mass Bass’s Max Danese, 11-14 Eastern Division Champ. He had 2 fish that weighed 4 lbs 11 oz. “I was fishing in shallow water, slow with a shaky head. If that doesn’t work tomorrow, I may fish bridge pilings with a spoon or fishhead spin. I saw some swimming that I didn’t catch and I got bites that I didn’t catch, so I think I can go out and get those tomorrow,” said Danese.
2009 National Guard Junior World Champion in the 11-14 age group, Daryk Eckert of Stockport, Ohio won the Northern Division in the 15-18 age group this year. He weighed in three for 6 lbs 1 oz. “Today, my day started out slow, I caught a bunch short, and few really good ones got off. I’m fishing shallow for largemouth. Today I had several follow my buzzbait that were over 4 lbs and I didn’t quite get them. I think it’s going to just get better tomorrow. I plan on using the same pattern tomorrow and I’m even fishing with the same partner I had today,” said Eckert. His partner tomorrow is 11-14 Central Division Champion, Trevor Owens of Ponca City, Okla. Trevor weighed in 2 bass that weighed 4 lbs 3 oz.
Fishing in boat 4 is Matthew Christopulos, NJ (11-14 Eastern Div Champ) and Tyler Huberts, CA (15-18 Western Div Champ). Boat 5 is Tyler Rollman, UT (11-14 Western Div Champ) and Andrew Guilliams, MO (15-18 Central Div Champ). Boat 6 will be Ryan Mikels, OH (11-14 Northern Div Champ) and Marshall Maynard, NY (15-18 Eastern Div Champ).
All anglers and their families will be treated to fun, food and craziness tonight at the infamous National Guard Pizza Party in the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville.
All twelve division champions will be awarded scholarships. Tomorrow, the weights zero and it will be a level playing field for all. The top angler of each age group will be crowned the World Champion tomorrow at Laurel Park in Gainesville. All competitors will then be taken to the Gwinnett Center and be introduced on stage as State Champions at 4:45 EST. The World Champions will be presented their cups and recognized immediately before the Forrest Wood Cup weigh-in begins.
Tomorrow’s final weigh-in will be streamed live on BassFederation.com beginning at 1:30 EST. Be sure to check for updates of the tournament on TBF’s Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/TheBassFederation or follow us on twitter @bassfederation.
About The Bass Federation, Inc.
The Bass Federation Inc., (TBF) is owned by those we serve and dedicated to the sport of fishing. TBF is the largest and oldest, organized grassroots fishing organization there is and is 100% member owned. TBF affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 fishing, youth and conservation events at the local level each year and have provided a foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 40 years. The Bass Federation is proudly Partners in Fishing with FLW Outdoors.
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