Fishing & Boating News

Bluegrass Junior Anglers Take Bassmaster Junior National Championship 

by: JamieDay Matthews,

Trey McKinney (right) and Carter Wijangco of the Bluegrass Jr. Bassmasters out of Illinois won the 2018 Bassmaster Junior Championship on Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake with a two-day total of 17 lbs, 6 oz.
Photo by Ronnie Moore/B.A.S.S.
(Aug 2, 2018 - Huntingdon, TN) By the smallest of margins, Trey McKinney and Carter Wijangco of the Bluegrass Jr. Bassmasters outlasted the 54-team field to win the 2018 Bassmaster Junior Championship on Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake. Their two-day total of 17 pounds, 6 ounces, gave them a 1-ounce advantage over first-round leaders Jeremy Monda and Will Boyd of Florida.
On what was a tougher day on the Tennessee reservoir, the duo scrounged up a five-bass limit weighing 8 pounds, but that was enough to win the championship title. With water temperatures in the 80s, the offshore bite was the primary pattern for most of the teams, including McKinney and Wijangco.
“We were a bit nervous because the Florida team of Monda and Boyd were the leaders, and we had heard they caught another limit today,” McKinney, 13, said. “It was so nerve-racking on the ‘hot seat.’”
McKinney and Wijangco fished numerous baits this week and throughout practice, but their best lure was a Bizz Baits Dizzy Diamond stickbait rigged on a shaky head jig. They fished it slow on the bottom of numerous offshore spots. They learned from their experience in the 2017 Bassmaster Junior Championship, also held on Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake, and used that knowledge to their benefit to win on their second try.
“I finished 27th last year, and Trey finished 13th with a different partner,” Wijangco, 14, said. “We fished offshore with the shaky head yesterday, but today we also used a jig and Carolina rig. Keeping our head up and staying positive was important.”
The team stayed patient as they only had three fish before 11 a.m. each day. In the final two hours, they were able to visit enough spots to find active fish.
“It seemed that most of the field was fishing the same 10 spots offshore, so we went to the vacant areas,” said Rick Cheatem, who served as boat captain for the pair. “Fishing spots by ourselves was important, and I’m proud of how Trey and Carter stayed in the game. In 15 minutes or so, they caught four or five fish and culled to their winning weight.”
After leading Tuesday with a 10-3 catch, Monda and Boyd only managed to catch a small limit weighing 7-2 and fell short of the title.
Representing Florida’s Quincy Junior Bassmasters, the duo concentrated on the mid-depth region of the lake and caught most of their fish with swim jigs, a bait that wasn’t a factor in the practice rounds but paid off when competition began.
“We used drop shots and other baits throughout practice,” Monda said. “We saw a pocket that looked great for a swim jig, so we threw it and caught a bunch of bass, and we kept using that in the tournament.”
Rochester Junior Bassmasters Rein Golubjatnikov and Matthew Pitcher placed third with a two-day total of 16-14. Golubjatnikov finished in the runner-up position in 2017 when he fished solo. This year the New York duo took home more hardware for their third-place finish.
The Big Bass of the tournament was caught by Terrance Wiseman and Isaac Shock of the Southern West Virginia Junior Bassmasters who brought a 7-1 lunker to the weigh-in stage on Day 2. The Big Bass of the tournament also vaulted them from 38th on Day 1 to 4th place overall.
The win netted McKinney and Wijangco $2,000 in scholarship money along with Abu Garcia rods and reels. Second place took home $1,000 in scholarship prizes along with Abu Garcia Veritas rods.

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