MOUNTAIN HOME Ark. — Without any practice time, Huntlee York and Colton Smith of the Y&S Fishing Club completely fished on instincts to take home the victory in the Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Series at Norfork Lake presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.
Their five-bass limit weighed 13 pounds, 7 ounces.
The pair of 14-year-olds, who attend Salem School District just 27 miles from Norfork Lake, were still eligible to fish the Junior Series in 2022 but decided that they were going to make the jump to fish the High School Series. It paid off with a win on their home body of water.
The winners were fishing the Bass Cat Boats Owners Tournament on nearby Beaver Lake over the weekend, which didn’t allow them to practice for the event. Having a pretty good idea of what the bass may be doing, York and Smith used their local knowledge that had produced in the past.
“We had a pretty good idea of what the fish were going to be doing, and they were doing just what we thought — they were spawning,” said York. “It started off pretty well. He (Colton Smith) caught the first and second fish on a topwater and then we started throwing what we wanted and ran into the right ones.”
Although the Y&S duo caught a couple of their keepers by sight fishing later in the day, their early keepers came from targeting fish that were pushing up bait in the backs of pockets. The anglers later went on to call it a “junk-fishing” pattern.
“They started in the backs of spawning pockets where some shad were getting blown up,” added Trapper York, the Y&S Fishing team boat captain. “Later in the day they went to the bank and were able to pick off a few on beds.”
When the fish were schooling on the surface, the anglers were able to catch their fish on a topwater, but later had to switch to a swimbait when the fish moved down in the water column. Once they made the move to the bank to target spawning fish, a floating worm was their key bait.
“This means everything — we come and fish here almost every weekend,” said Huntlee York in closing.
Garrett Thomas and Hunter Holland of Walker High School finished second with 12-12.
Langston Martin of Lee County Anglers fished solo to finish third with 12-0.
The event was hosted by the Norfork Lake Chamber of Commerce.