Benton High repeats Classic title

HOUSTON — Benton High School of Illinois won a second consecutive national title at the Costa Bassmaster High School Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

Editor’s note: See weigh-in pics.

The team of Cody Miles and Jordan Bowlin caught 5 bass weighing 10 pounds 5 ounces, to win the tournament on Lake Houston. They won by a margin of 1 pound, 5 ounces, over Justin Watts and Alexander Heintze of the Livingston Parish Bassmasters in Louisiana.

Twelve teams competed from qualifying events held in their respective home states. The high school tournament was held during the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

The team practiced four days last week prior to the tournament. What they found were bass holding to flooded trees along the shoreline. Pitching and flipping lures to the wooded cover proved productive. Then, the water level began to drop. The shoreline cover went dry and the team was forced to search for another strategy.

They found it in flooded lily pads growing around 2 feet of water. Miles, a sophomore, and Bowlin, a junior, caught all of their fish on two baits. A key lure was a 1/2-ounce BOOYAH Spinnerbait with silver and gold tandem willowleaf blades. Alternatively, they used a white Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog.

“We just fished the spinnerbait through the pads with a slow retrieve,” said Miles, 16, of Benton, Ill.

“For the frog we did the same thing, just working it slowly through the pads,” added Bowlin, 17.

The win came before a crowd gathered inside Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.

“Before now we never weighed in on a stage of any kind,” said Miles.

The tournament is part of the Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. Affiliated with the B.A.S.S. program are 600 high schools reaching 7,000. students.