CLEWISTON, Fla. — Willem Lubbinge traveled 21 hours by plane to reach Lake Okeechobee, but it was well worth the time and effort for the South African angler. (To view the final standings)
Lubbinge, 18, caught a five-fish limit weighing 19 pounds, 4 ounces to win the 15- to 18-year-olds age group of the Junior Bassmaster competition in the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Southern Divisional on Lake Okeechobee. His stringer was the biggest limit Lubbinge has ever caught.
Florida youngster Luke Farmer won the 11-14 age group by catching four keepers weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces. The young anglers both qualified for berths in the Bassmaster Junior World Championship (JWC) to be held in conjunction with the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship in Alabama in October.
Farmer, 12, flipped a jig into buggywhips, bulrush and pencil reeds to catch his four keepers. He fishes Lake Okeechobee frequently, so he had plenty of experience with his winning pattern.
“I caught big fish both days of practice,” he said. “Early this morning, I didn’t have anything until about 10 o’clock, and then I caught a 5-pounder.”
He caught the rest of his keepers later in the afternoon. The Big O Teen Anglers member is the son of Candace and Kenny Farmer.
Lubbinge, the son of Jan and Chagne Lubbinge, also pitched and flipped to the reeds all day. “We found that the heavier the cover, the better size the fish,” he said. Lubbinge also found out he had to slow down the jig to catch fish. He said he usually fishes Zoom Flukes on his home waters, but at Okeechobee, he had to rely on a 3/4-ounce jig (green pumpkin) with a Zoom Chunk (orange with green flake).
11-14 age group
|1||Luke Farmer||Estero,FL (FL)||4||12.6|
|2||Zeke Gossett||Cropwell, AL (AL)||5||9.11|
|3||Wyatt Young||Bartlett, TN (TN)||5||8.0|
|4||Nico Retief||South Africa (SA)||5||6.0|
|5||Chris Carnes||York, SC (SC)||5||5.12|
|6||Austin Cole||Rutherford, NC (NC)||4||4.12|
|7||Austin Hagan||Clarkson, KY (KY)||2||2.14|
|8||Jake Mims||Douglasville, GA (GA)||1||1.1|
15-18 age group
|1||Willem Libbinge||South Africa (SA)||5||19.10|
|2||Dustin Bozeman||Lakeland, FL (FL)||5||14.8|
|3||Carson Orelllana||Mooresville, NC (NC)||5||13.12|
|4||Ethan Eubanks||Marion, AR (TN)||5||11.12|
|5||Quentin Vercher||Titus, AL (AL)||5||8.8|
|6||Justin Singleton||Rutledge, GA (GA)||5||6.13|
|7||Lance Freeman||Eddyville, KY (KY)||4||5.1|
|8||Samson Faulk||Lyman, SC (SC)||2||2.2|