CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Soft-spoken Jason Hewitt let his fishing do the talking when he became the youngest angler ever to win the Iowa B.A.S.S. Nation State Tournament, May 4-5 on the Mississippi River at Prairie Du Chien, Wis.
Hewitt, 21, won the state championship with a two-day total of 32.46 pounds and earned a berth on the Iowa state team that will compete in the B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional at Francis Case Lake in South Dakota, Aug. 28-30.
The Cedar Rapids Bassmasters club member said he felt “pretty good” about winning the championship, which he noted was the biggest tournament he had ever won. Hewitt had fished the Prairie Du Chien section of the Mississippi before so he was familiar with the waters. He relied on a slow presentation of flipping and pitching soft plastics to the grasslines and shallow wood, which he considers his strength.
“I got to fish with him as his non-boater on Sunday of that state tournament,” said Chad Smith, Cedar Rapids Bassmasters club president. “I’ll tell you what, just watching him catch those fish, I was beside myself. I was having such a good time watching him. He would just giggle and laugh. When you get him in the boat, he opens up and talks a little bit more.”
As a member of the Cedar Rapids Junior Bassmasters club, Hewitt finished second in one of the state’s junior championships. At the age of 18, he finished 14th out of more than 120 competitors in his first Iowa B.A.S.S. Nation state championship in 2009.
He came all the way up through our youth club,” said Smith. “He doesn’t fish a lot with us because of his work schedule. He has won some money from some of our club tournaments for big bass or finishing in the Top 5.
“The very first tournament that he fished with our club he was in first place the first day and I was really impressed by that,” said Smith. “His fish didn’t hold up the next day but he did really well. He likes to use that shaky head, and nobody in our club really uses that. He is a heck of a nice kid and is super quiet. He really deserves all of the attention he gets.”
A welder by trade, Hewitt plans on continuing to fish in Nation tournaments and eventually become a pro. “I would like to make it all the way to the Bassmaster Elite Series,” he said. “Maybe in a year or two, I would like to fish the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens.”
Smith believes Hewitt has the skills to fulfill his goals. “He has fished in a couple of tournaments where I think those pros would be hard pressed to beat him,” Smith said.