COLUMBIA, S.C. — Members of a new junior club dominated the South Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation Junior Championship, Nov. 2, 2013, on Lake Murray.
Competing in its first state championship, the North Augusta Fishing Team won five of the Top 6 spots in the two age groups and the big bass award. North Augusta Fishing Team member Grayson Brandt took first place in the 11-14 age group with 7.80 pounds and won big fish honors with a 4.28-pound bass. Teammates Forest Thaxton took second with 5.65 pounds, and Matt Lykins finished third with 4.04 pounds.
Sean Hall of the North Augusta Fishing Team won the 15-18 age group with 6.37 pounds, while teammate Simeon O’Meara placed second with 5.89 pounds. Jason Knight of the Mid Carolina Junior Bassmasters finished third with 5.24 pounds.
Randy Vaughn, South Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation youth director, estimated that half of the 67 juniors in the tournament brought fish to the scales, which he considered strong because Lake Murray was producing “less than desirable fishing” prior to the championship.
“We didn’t have a limit come in, but we had a lot of fish weighed in by a lot of different kids,” Vaughn said. “Two weeks before that, we had our state six-man tournament and we had clubs that fished two days with six members who did not catch fish, so I knew it was going to be tough.”
A minimum length limit change from 12 to 14 inches on Lake Murray bass also presented a challenge for the young anglers trying to catch five keepers.
Helping Vaughn run the championship were Lee Foster, South Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation tournament director; Doug Miller, South Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation district representative; and Ellie Carnes.
“The tournament was also a huge success in that all fish were released with no mortalities recorded,” Vaughn said. “This in part was due to a great group of boat captains who helped with preservation of the fish during the day.”