(Jun 3, 2017 - Florence, AL)
The Mabank High School duo of Justin Shelton of Seven Points, Texas, and Dakota Pfoh, of Eustace, Texas, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 7 ounces to win the 2017 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship on Wheeler Lake in Florence, Alabama. The win earned the team trophies, the title of national champions and each angler a $5,000 scholarship to their college of choice.
A field of 13 teams competed in the event, which launched from Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville. The Mabank High School duo won by an 8-pound, 2-ounce margin over second place Harmony High School from St. Cloud, Florida, who weighed in five bass totaling 9-5. Mabank’s 17-7 limit was greater than any limit weighed in by the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship teams that fished Wheeler for three days prior to the high school event.
The key to Mabank’s win was one key area on the main lake of Wheeler that was loaded with bait. They camped on the spot all day long.
“We found one place in practice and kind of left it alone,” says Shelton. “We went in there today and wore ’em out.”
The spot was located near some large barge tie-offs. A ledge sloped up to a shell bed that was about 5 feet deep on top. Above the shell bed was a 2-foot-deep island. Pfoh and Shelton positioned above the shell bed and cast out, dragging jigs back up the slope. They also circled the island, which produced a key fish but also gave the shell bed time to replenish. Each time they fished through the main spot again produced another keeper.
Their jigs were either black and blue or green-pumpkin and rigged with matching Strike King Rage Craw trailers. While the jig bite was key, according to Pfoh the team also caught a couple of fish on a Strike King 5XD crankbait and a Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad swimbait, Texas-rigged with a screw-in weight, which they worked through some grass.
Both anglers graduated in 2016 – the year they qualified for this championship. Shelton is attending community college and working, while focusing on his fishing. Pfoh is angling for a fishing career as well. Both hope to land on a YETI FLW College Fishing club
The top 10 teams on Wheeler Lake finished:
1st: Mabank High School, Mabank, Texas – Dakota Pfoh, Seven Points, Texas, and Justin Shelton, Eustace, Texas, five bass, 17-7, $10,000 Scholarship
2nd: Harmony High School, St. Cloud, Fla. – Cole Thompson and Nick Cora, both of St. Cloud, Fla., five bass, 9-5
3rd: Lawrenceburg Tigers, Lawrenceburg, Ind. – Hunter Schneider, Milin, Ind., and William Halbig, Aurora, Ind., five bass, 7-13
4th: South Florence High School, Florence, S.C. – Cole Drummond, Effingham, S.C., and Piercen Lynch, Timmonsville, S.C., five bass, 7-4
5th: Mortimer Jordan High School, Kimberly, Ala. – Parker Davis, Morris, Ala., and Aaron Stephens, Kimberly, Ala., five bass, 7-4
6th: Phoenix HS Bassmasters, Phoenix, Ariz. – Taj White, Glendale, Ariz., and Nathan Cummings, Peoria, Ariz., three bass, 7-4
7th: Corbin High School, Corbin, Ky. – Marcus Davis and Noah Metzger, both of Corbin, Ky., five bass, 7-0
8th: Peru Senior High School, Peru, N.Y. – Perry Marvin and Alexandre Lawliss, both of Peru, N.Y., three bass, 3-14
9th: Creek Wood High School, Charlotte, Tenn. – Daniel Cheshire and Steven Mills, both of White Bluff, Tenn., two bass, 3-8
10th: Alfred M. Barbe High School, Lake Charles, La. – Colby Robinson and Nick Nocilla, both of Lake Charles, La., four bass, 3-1
The 2017 TBF/FLW High School Fishing National Championship was a two-person (team) no-entry fee event for students in grades 7-12. The tournament featured the top anglers from the 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Conference Championship events. An additional High School Fishing National Championship will be held this year, June 27-July 1 on Pickwick Lake, for teams that qualified during the 2017 season. Going forward, a yearly championship will be held following the preceding school year.
Full schedules and the latest announcements are available at HighSchoolFishing.org and FLWFishing.com.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.
About The Bass Federation
The Bass Federation Inc., (TBF) is a member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. TBF is owned by those we serve and dedicated to the sport of fishing. The Federation is the largest and oldest, organized grassroots fishing, youth and conservation organization there is. TBF, our affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 events each year and have provided a foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 45 years. TBF founded the Student Angler Federation and the National High School Fishing program in 2008 to promote clean family fun and education through fishing.