GREENVILLE, S.C. — The 2015 Bassmaster High School Classic crowned two Tennessee high school teams co-champions after the competition on Lake Keowee in South Carolina today.
The teams of Hunter Silverstrim and Nathaniel Burris of Queen City High School and Caden Watson and Cole Sands of Walker Valley High School each weighed in 11 pounds, 9 ounces to take home the High School Classic trophy. A total of 10 high school fishing teams competed on Keowee and weighed in on the same stage as the competitors in the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
Silverstrim and Burris caught their biggest fish of the day with a shaky head jig, and also had success using a 3/4-ounce football head jig. Their day started slowly, but improved after noon when they caught three fish back-to-back. Shortly thereafter, they caught their biggest fish of the day.
“We had nothing before noon, and we were thinking we might walk across that stage with nothing. But then we started thinking we might actually win this,” Burris said.
The first time the team from Clarksville, Tenn., fished on Lake Keowee was during practice, and they made the most of it. A spot they found during practice on Tuesdayproduced only one bass at the time, but it produced most of their fish on competition day.
“Lake Keowee is much different than our home lake, Kentucky Lake. It’s much more finesse fishing here,“ Silverstrim said.
Co-champions Watson and Sands also experienced some bad luck during practice. They discovered the float-and-fly technique, which employs a lightweight jig beneath a bobber, was working best. Their special float-and-fly rod broke, however, and they were unable to find a replacement. Luckily, with the help of Super Glue, athletic tape and creativity they were able to fix it.
The Walker Valley high school team used a crankbait and a shaky head in the rocks, and also caught one final keeper in the last 30 minutes right next to a boat ramp.
It was Watson’s and Sands’ first time on Lake Keowee, too. They said the key to their win was a successful practice and taking time to study maps to see where the fish would be.
The anglers from Cleveland, Tenn., said the win was an amazing experience for them.
“It felt like it was meant to be,” Sands said.
“This was the biggest opportunity of my life. It was amazing to be able to walk across that stage,” Watson said.
2015 Bassmaster High School Title Sponsor: Costa
2015 Bassmaster High School Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Bassmaster High School Supporting Sponsor: Abu Garcia, Huk