Missouri High School Fall Classic Bass Tournament
Republic High anglers win Fall Classic
By John Neporadny Jr.
Osage Beach, Mo.—Despite a bluebird sky and bright sunshine, Republic High School anglers Brandon Durr and Hunter Gill stuck with a topwater pattern all day to win the first Missouri High School Fall Classic bass tournament Sunday, Oct. 26 at Lake of the Ozarks.
Durr and Gill weighed in a five-fish limit totaling 12.82 pounds to earn the first-place prize of $5,000 in scholarship money. “The tournament was pretty fun,” Durr said. “It was different for me because this was only the third time I have been on this lake. We practiced hard and fished even harder today. We got lucky and found a pattern and stuck with it.”
Gill noted he also had limited experience on Lake of the Ozarks. “I haven’t been on this lake much either,” he said. “We did pretty well in practice with buzz baits and just kind of copied that. We followed the shade (on competition day), which was a huge key later in the day.”
The Republic team steadily retrieved black War Eagle buzz baits along rocky banks with laydowns near the main lake. Gill estimated they triggered about seven or eight bites throughout the day and caught six keepers.
The tournament drew 88 two-man teams (accompanied by an adult boat captain) from 25 Missouri high schools. Scholarship money and prizes awarded to the high school anglers were donated by the following sponsors: Ranger Boats, Lew’s, Academy Sports and Outdoors, BassingBob.com, Anglers in Action, University of Missouri Bass Club, Fitz Fishing, Missouri Division of Tourism, P-Line, Creme Lures, Vicious Fishing, Midwest Fishing Tackle and Pin Oak Specialties, LLC.
Other Top Ten finishers winning scholarship money included Tad Mitchell and Garrett Jernigan of Logan-Rogersville High School, second place, 8.99 pounds, $4,000; Dalton Combs and Ethan VanHorn, Ozark High, third, 8.48, $3,500; Heath Renno and Corbin Mertgen, Lincoln High, fourth, 8.20, $3,000; Gavin White and Riley Fletcher, Cassville High, fifth, 7.54, $2,500; Ren Witte and Luke Ruprecht, Eureka High, sixth, 7.16, $2,000; Jacob Sauer and Bruno Tesoro, Affton High, seventh, 6.71, $1,500; Brock Andreasen and Mitch Bohon, Camdenton High, eighth, 6.56, $1,300; Grant Renken and Bryce Easter, Joplin High, ninth, 6.50, $1,200; Cody Huff and Colten Levan, Ava High, 10th, 6.28, $1,000.
The Lew’s Big Bass Awards went to Hillcrest High School’s Brady Angel and Colton Stocker for catching the big bass of the event weighing 5.35 pounds to win $750 in scholarship money, while Republic’s Durr and Gill had the second big bass of 4.29, $500 scholarship; and Logan-Rogersville’s Mitchell and Jernigan, had the third big bass of 4.14, $250 scholarship.
During the weigh-in awards ceremony, three $500 scholarships from BassingBob.com and a $300 scholarship from Anglers in Action were given away as draw prizes to contestants who fell short of the Top 10.
The tournament was monitored by the Missouri State High School Activities Association since bass fishing is an emerging activity for Missouri high schools.
Information on how to start a high school fishing club is available at www.mshsaa.org, www.missourihighschoolanglers.org and www.bassslammertackle.com.