Winnsboro, S.C. — Young anglers Manning Felder and Noah Jones claimed their second state title of the spring by winning the first South Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation Junior State Championship April 2 at Lake Wateree.
The Conway Middle School anglers caught a five-fish limit weighing 14.83 pounds, including the tournament’s big bass at 5.16 pounds, at Wateree to win the SC Nation junior championship and become the first South Carolina qualifiers for the Junior Bassmaster Championship. Two weeks earlier Felder and Jones won the middle school division of the fourth annual South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Youth Bass Fishing Championship on Lake Murray. They weighed 16.87 pounds in that state championship and Felder caught a 7.32-pound largemouth, which was the big bass of the tournament.
“They are pretty accomplished,” said SC Nation Youth Director Randy Vaughn of the SC Nation junior champions. Vaughn noted Noah Jones is the son of Chris Jones, a member of the 2016 SC Nation state team. The junior state champions’ winning pattern consisted of pitching Texas-rigged Zoom Z Boss baits to shoreline grass patches in major creeks.
Vaughn was hoping the first state championship to draw 20 to 25 boats, but only six teams entered the event. “I didn’t expect the turnout to be very good because we had Spring Break then so the parents and kids were gone,” Vaughn said. “We also had so many of the kids already involved with high school teams, so there is kind of a crossover there.”
The fishing was good that day as all six teams weighed in fish, according to Vaughn. Finishing in second place with 10.86 pounds was the North Augusta Fishing Team of Emily Boatwright and Nick Carver. Taking third place were Taylor Polatty and Jake Adams of the Wright Middle School team with 8.42 pounds. Other finishers included Matthew Trussell and Jackson Salley of Southside Middle School in fourth place; Hunter Temples and Michael Burch, North Augusta Fishing Team, fifth; and Mathew Braught and Jordan Lockair, Wright Middle School, sixth.
Helping Vaughn run the tournament were SC Nation officers Jackie Stanford (president), Randy Mosley (tournament director) and Lou Gross (treasurer). “It was great to have the backbone of the SC B.A.S.S. Nation officers present,” Vaughn said. “Some drove over 2 1/2 hours to attend and be a part of our youth program.
Entry fees from the junior championship will be used to help fund the winning team’s trip to the national competition later this summer.