HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Big fish and big limits were on the minds of 42 of Arkansas’ best junior anglers Sunday, April 29, during the Arkansas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation (ABFN) Junior State Championship Tournament on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs.
For most, though, the excitement was short-lived, said Roy Brunson, vice president and youth director for the ABFN, as they found the bass not willing to join in the day’s activities. At 9 a.m., most only had one or two fish, and that would prove to be all many of them would catch.
Eli Kemmet from the Northwest Arkansas Junior Bassmasters slowly worked his Bass X jig around docks and points to catch a five-fish limit weighing 8.86 pounds. It was enough to crown Kemmet the 2012 Arkansas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Junior State Champion for the 15- to 18-year-olds age group.
“His home waters of Beaver Lake are notorious for being tough and forcing an angler to fish slow and deep for a limit,” said Brunson. “No doubt this experience helped Eli to take home the title.”
Central Arkansas’ Cody Cathart took second place with five fish weighing 7.58 pounds, while past state champions Chaz Miller (Northwest Arkansas) and Ralston Lusby (Central Arkansas) finished third and fourth with 7.44 pounds and 7.36 pounds respectively. TJ Miller (Central Arkansas) caught the biggest bass of the tournament with a 3.7-pounder, and it added to his fifth-place finish with a total of 7.04 pounds.
Clayton Robbins from the Smackover Junior Bassmasters battled his way to his first ABFN Junior State title with the only five fish limit caught in the 11- to 14-year-olds age group. Robbins’ 6.13 pounds edged Northwest Arkansas angler Chakota Harp by just less than 1 pound. Harp brought three fish weighing 5.29 pounds to the scales in his first state tournament outing. The tight competition continued with a tie for third between Tyler Blaszak (Anvil Jaw) and Eli Chamberlin (Northwest Arkansas). Both had two fish weighing 2.9 pounds. Rounding out the Top 5 was Christopher Welch (Northwest Arkansas) with two fish weighing 2.83 pounds.
Kemmet and Robbins will represent Arkansas as part of the 2012 Arkansas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation state team at the Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Central Divisional in Morgan City, La., June 6-8. They will compete against junior anglers from seven other states and Mexico during this tournament for a chance to compete in the Bassmaster Junior World Championship, Oct. 26-27.
“The Arkansas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation would like to thank Okuma Reels, Deep South Rods, Berkley, Trilene Line, Havoc Baits, Cabela’s, Bass X Jigs, War Eagle Lures and Culprit Baits for their great support and sponsorship of this year’s event,” added Brunson.
Click here to see photos from the event.