Junior: Gabby and Bruner take the win on Norfork

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — After a challenging practice, Landon Gabby and Carson Bruner of Southern Illinois Future Anglers knew the fishing wasn’t going to be easy, but they were still able to bring in just enough weight to take home the trophies at the Bassmaster Junior Series at Norfork Lake with 10 pounds, 13 ounces.

Despite only bringing in four fish, the pair of eighth-graders narrowly edged the second-place team of Milam Mcillwain and Mavrick Grove of Creekwood Fishing by just an ounce.

With rain and cooler weather moving in, the bite changed and the two junior anglers were able to make the adjustments necessary to take home the title.

“Practice was actually really tough for us and we never really got the big bites,” said Gabby. “The weather changed a little bit, and I think that’s why we were able to do it today.

“We mostly caught them in the first three hours or so and then it got really tough — it was hard to get a bite.”

A 5-11 kicker, which won big bass for the event, was the difference-maker for Gabby and Bruner. After the duo boated the fish, a celebration ensued because it was the biggest bass they had caught since arriving in north Arkansas. The kicker fell victim to a buzzbait, which made the catch that much more exciting.

“We caught it early this morning on a buzzbait,” Gabby said with a smile. “We were just going down the bank early this morning and he just sucked it in. It wasn’t even a big blowup or anything.”

The pair of Southern Illinois Future Anglers punched their tickets to the 2022 Bassmaster Junior Series National Championship later this year.

Mcillwain and Grove finished second with 10-11.

Michael Harris and Cannon White of Mount Juliet Fishing finished third with 8-14.

The event was hosted by the Norfork Lake Chamber of Commerce.