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High School Bass Championships, 2017

I have been debating with myself whether to blog about this today or wait.  I decided it is timely and needs to be mentioned now, but right up front let me apologize because I do NOT have all the details or photos.  I will share what I know, what I have, but you may find more later.

This past weekend the 2017 Nebraska High School Bass Championships were held at Merritt Reservoir.  The event this year was a little different, let me give a little background to explain. . . .

There are two major, national bass angler organizations, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) and The Bass Federation (TBF).  Of course Nebraska has chapters of each and each sponsors youth fishing and a high school championship.  This year, for the first time, the two organizations teamed up and had their high school championships at Merritt Reservoir; Nebraska B.A.S.S. last Friday and TBF Nebraska on Saturday.  Some anglers fished both days.  I helped on both days, was not able to talk to everyone, get photos of everything, but I can tell you what I know.

It was H-O-T, hot, Africa hot, especially on Friday.  Fishing started both days at 7:00 a.m., so we had back-to-back early mornings with boat launching and a rules meeting at 6:30.  There were 18, 19 teams that fished on Friday and we had 30 on Saturday.

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Teams launched both days at Beed’s Landing, a lot of anglers fished the Boardman Creek Arm really hard.

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But, some headed for the main lake.

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I did not get any photos of anyone catching fish either day, but I got a few photos of teams fishing hard.

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Here is what they were fishing for on the second day, these are the Student Angler Federation trophies for the TBF anglers.

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At weigh-in on the first day, I assisted by handing out weigh sacks.  I did not get any photos of any of the anglers with their fish, and I do not have any details for the B.A.S.S. winners on Friday.  I hope they will soon have those posted on their website.

All I can tell you is that a team from Lincoln County won on the first day, I do know that Kent Priel was their boat operator.

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On Saturday, I emceed the weigh-in, so again I did not stand around taking photos.  I can tell you this is what the leader board looked like:

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You can see we had excellent representation from all over the state.

Weigh-in occurred at 1:00 both days and by then it was hot.  We tried to move the weigh-in along as quickly as possible so the fish could get released back in the reservoir ASAP.  I know we got photos of each team, look for them to be posted on our Family Fishing Nebraska FaceBook page in the coming days.

Here is the news release on the winners,

Wahoo’s Mueting, Spencer win state high school fishing tournament

July 24, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. – Mike Mueting and Nick Spencer of Wahoo’s Star City team caught a five-fish limit weighing 15.56 pounds to capture The Bass Federation – Nebraska High School Fishing Championship. The event took place July 22 at Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area in Cherry County.

Cole Hall and Keegan Oettinger of North Platte’s Lincoln County Bass Bosses took second place with five fish weighing 14.45 pounds. They also caught the tournament’s biggest fish at 4.85 pounds. Colton Kelle and Jarrett Kmiecik of Wahoo’s Star City caught five fish weighing 13.76 pounds for third place.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and The Bass Federation-Student Angler Federation were hosts. Thirty teams competed in this seventh annual TBF – SAF state tournament. Each team could weigh in a maximum of five bass, with a minimum length limit of 15 inches.

About half the teams both days weighed fish, and if I recall there were 3 or 4 teams each day that had their tournament bag limit of 5 bass.  Here is the final leader board on Saturday.
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A fifteen pound, 5-fish bag to win is a very respectable weight; big bass of nearly 5 pounds was not bad either.  I know this, some of the student anglers can flat-out fish–GOOD STICKS!

Most of the fish weighed were largemouths; I believe there was one smallmouth bass weighed on Friday.  I know in talking to some of the anglers that a few smallies were caught, but many of them were not large enough to make the 15-inch minimum.  Of course at Merritt, I heard stories of at least one pike and one nice walleye being caught too.

As I said earlier, it was hot and we tried to keep the weigh-in moving as fast as possible.  The winning team on Saturday, Mueting and Spencer, was the first to weigh, so they got to sit in the “hot seats” and watch everyone else try to knock them off.  At the end, they were still sitting there, and then I got to chat ’em up a bit.  I can tell you their best spot was in the Snake Arm and they did not fish very deep.  In fact, with dropping water levels, they were concerned that the fish they were on might have to move deeper from one day to the next.  They caught their fish on “Ned” rigs, and had them in the livewell by mid-morning.

I apologize for not having more photos or more details on all the participants.  I am shaking my head right now, I do not have one fish photo in this blog post–a huge deficiency in my opinion!  I will be looking for those in the coming days, just like everyone else.

Let me finish by saying that I enjoy being around these high school anglers.  I have been privileged to do so every summer for the past several years.  It is fun to see the reactions and emotions, fun to interact with these fellow anglers.  High school bass fishing in Nebraska has come a long way in the past few years and I have no doubt it will go even further in the coming years.  I always have been and forever will be proudly Nebraskan; as our high school champions go on to represent our state in regional championships, I have no doubt they will do us proud!  FISH ON!

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About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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