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High School Bass Championship, 2021

Was good to get out of the office the end of last week and help with the 2021 High School Bass Championships.  The tournament location was Red Willow Reservoir.  Many of you know that water levels at Red Willow were minimum pool for several years while dam repairs were completed.  Since then, the water has returned within 10 feet of full pool.  As water levels have risen it has flooded a bunch of terrestrial vegetation.  Fish populations are thriving in that habitat!  The bass fishing was very good, more on that to come. . . .

Again this year the B.A.S.S. high school championship and Nebraska TBF high school championship were held together.  B.A.S.S. ran the show on the first day; TBF the second.  Many of the kids fished both days.  The weather was great, and after the coronavirus year, it was great to be a part of this again!

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“Blast off” was early each morning.  First, the national anthem. . . .

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Look close, the Stars and Stripes are in the middle.

By 7:00 a.m., they were off!

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First morning.
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Second morning.

Some of what they were fishing for:

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All teams had to be in by 2:00 p.m. each day.

These guys, Nichols and Unger from McCook had the big bag on the first day, 20.87 pounds (5 fish).

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Here was the leader board from the first day:

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You can see a lot more pictures of the teams and fish here, FaceBook, Nebraska BASS Nation Youth.

Big bass on the first day was over 6 pounds!  All of the fish were post-spawn and were a little skinny.  Weights would have been even heavier a month or so ago!

Heaviest bag on the second day was brought in by Graham and Hosick also of McCook.  They also weighed 20+ pounds, 20.65 pounds.

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Second day leader board:

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As you can see, big bass on the second day was over 5 pounds.  Nichols and Unger had fish over 5 pounds both days.  They caught two of the three biggest bass in two days.

Most teams weighed fish, and I believe pretty much everyone caught fish.  Some just could not come up with legal-size fish to bring to the weigh-in.  As you might expect, teams close to Red Willow tended to do the best, McCook and Lincoln County teams did well.

Top teams qualified to fish regional and national tournaments, but I am not even going to try to tell you the details on that.  A certain number of teams qualified, but then there are questions of whether they will fish this year or next year, who will be able to go, etc.  If you are interested in those details, stay posted to the BASS and TBF websites and FaceBook pages.

I helped handle fish during the weigh-ins and photo taking.  I enjoy listening to the chatter especially after the last day when everyone is hyped up and willing to talk.  Their enthusiasm and passion is infectious!  Oh yes, there are always some good stories.  Almost everyone had a story about the big one that jumped at the boat and threw the hook.

I did not get a lot of details on fishing presentations.  I do know that Graham and Hosick, second day winners, pounded the same stretch of shoreline all day.  They kept catching fish there, and well, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”  It sounded like they found a good stretch of shoreline where post-spawn fish, including larger females, were moving up to feed.  Their fish came on Senkos.  I heard several other teams mention Senkos, and there was some talk about wacky rigs as well.

The kids can fish!  Some of them are very good sticks, and I look forward to see how well they compete in regional and national events!

A big “THANKS” to all the volunteers who help put on the tournament.  A big “THANKS” to the boat drivers!

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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