Ozark High anglers win at Table Rock
By John Neporadny Jr.
Kimberling City, Mo.—Relying on a lure they rarely throw paid off in a victory for Ozark High School anglers Brennan Banks and Sawyer Collins during the Teen Anglers bass tournament April 17 at Table Rock Lake.
Banks and Collins caught all six of their keepers on Keitech swimbaits and finished the day with a five-fish limit weighing 17.24 pounds to win the high school division of the Teen Anglers event. Banks also caught the tournament’s biggest bass, a 6.11-pound largemouth.
Both anglers admitted they seldom throw a swimbait at Table Rock. “I know a lot of people who do (fish a swimbait) but I haven’t done it a lot here,” Banks said.
Collins noted he has thrown swimbaits on Alabama rigs in the past, but it was the first time he had used a single bait on a jighead. “We didn’t get a lot of bites but all the fish we caught were quality ones,” said Collins, who caught one of the team’s keepers. “My issue was a confidence issue. I wasn’t really confident throwing the bait so I didn’t really feel like I was going to catch the fish.”
The Ozark High anglers fished the day before but had little success on the swimbait pattern in practice. “It was just something we kind of figured out (during the tournament),” Banks said. They threw their swimbaits along bluff ends and windy points were bass were holding at depths of 8 to 12 feet.
Running square-bill crankbaits into shallow wood on the Kings River arm produced a 15.24-pound limit and a second-place finish for Parkview High’s Riley Rathbun and Devon Rathbun. The brothers had to miss practice because they had baseball games the day before the tournament, so they just relied on a pattern that has produced for them in the past at Table Rock.
Riley noted they caught all of their fish on black-and-chartreuse or citrus shad square-bill crankbaits that they ran by wood cover along pea gravel banks about 2 feet deep. “The closer we got it to the wood the better off we were,” he said.
They retrieved their crankbaits at a medium speed, according to Devon. “We wanted it to hit (the wood) somewhat hard but we didn’t want to burn it by them too fast,” he said.
Finishing third with a 15.21-pound limit was the Logan-Rogersville team of Trevor Booth and Jonah Popa. “We just kept on the same thing and kept keying on the little things,” Booth said.
Keying on bluff banks, Booth and Popa worked tube baits on 3/8-ounce jigheads 3 to 7 feet deep to catch 10 keepers throughout the day. ”We just fished the tube like we would a jig,” Booth said.
“It’s not really a pattern for this time of year so we were catching them on more of a summer jigging pattern,” Popa said.
In the middle school competition, Sam Englemeyer of Logan-Rogersville won the tournament with two fish weighing 4.91 pounds. Second place went to Lincoln’s Hayden Beamen with two fish at 4.39 pounds and Andrew Sell of Logan-Rogersville took third with two fish totaling 4.34.
The tournament drew 171 boats representing 50 Missouri high schools. The field included approximately 320 high school anglers and 26 middle school competitors.
The final qualifying event of the Teen Anglers regular season will be held May 22 at Stockton Lake. For more details on the Teen Anglers circuit, visit www.teenanglers.net or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.