Chris Carnes and Carson Orellana battled near-freezing weather and a tough bite, but the two teens walked away victorious from the 2011 North Carolina B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Junior State Championship, Oct. 29, on High Rock Lake.
Changing weather and a cold front greeted the 42 junior anglers for the High Rock tournament. The first Nor’easter of the season blew through that morning, and heavy rains drenched the competitors as they arrived at Tamarac Marina for the launch. The rain subsided just in time for blast-off, but the wind and 37-degree temperatures made the early morning boat ride a bone-chilling experience.
Carnes won the 11- to 14-year-olds age division in a repeat victory. The defending champion kept three fish that weighed in at 5 pounds even. He patiently worked his Truesouth Shakey Heads down windswept banks to scratch out the winning weight, and only two anglers from the younger division caught keepers.
“The tough conditions I faced at Barren River in Kentucky taught me to stay focused and persevere in tough conditions,” said Carnes. “I would like to thank my mom and dad for getting me involved with fishing and John Martin of Truesouth Custom Lures for all the support he has given this year.”
Orellana, who won the 15- to 18-year-olds division, almost doubled the weight of his nearest competitor. He hauled in four bass that weighed 11 pounds, 11 ounces from the wind-churned High Rock waters. Orellana worked windy banks with a variety of Truesouth Spinnerbaits and a ChatterBait. He also claimed the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Award with his 4-pound, 15-ounce largemouth.
“I would like to give a big thanks to my mom and dad for supporting my fishing and Jason Shapiro for taking me under his wing and teaching me everything I know,” said Orellana after his victory. “Also, thanks to Scott Beattie and Doug Easton for taking me out and getting me on the water.”
Orellana will also fish the 2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Opens as a nonboater. “Congratulations to Carson and Chris,” said Bob Bauer, youth director for the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Federation Nation. “We will be rooting for them in Florida at the Southern Division Championships in the spring.”
Bauer extended thanks to all the boat captains. “On a day when most fishermen would have stayed home, they volunteered to captain these boats for anglers they had not met before,” said Bauer. “This shows what great dedication our Federation Nation anglers have to the future of our sport.
“I also want to thank all of our sponsors: Denali Rods, Truesouth Custom Lures, Bass Pro Shops, Koyote Bait and Tackle, River Valley Crankbaits, Captain Gary’s Marine Care Products, Deep Creek Lures, Skeeter, Triton, Berkley, Lowrance, Yamaha and Mercury,” said Bauer.