If you have kept up with Archdale Bass Club’s reports, you’ll know we’ve not had stellar days on the Yadkin River’s more southern link in the chain; Lake Tillery. Tillery is a great body of water but a bit baffling to most fishermen. Especially me. It strikes me as very fickle and susceptible to a wide range of variables including seasonal changes and recreational traffic. But, you can’t choose the place you fish your tournaments. You just show up, get your game on and be in it to win it.
October 23, 2010 Lake Tillery hosted the NC Bass Angler Sportsmen Society’s Federation Nation youth championship. 30 young men signed in Saturday morning after competing all year with the host adult clubs, like Archdale Bass Club, to earn the right to fish at this next level. 13 teams composed of anglers in either the 11 to 14 year old junior or 15 to 18 year senior old bracket launched late due to extremely thick fog but, as tough as fishing turned out to be, compete they did.
I captained the boat for senior Cody Stegall from Mount Pleasant, NC and junior Tristan Owens from Marion. NC. The format of the tournament is the boat captain pretty much turns over the boat to these two young men who are responsible for sharing their time in control of the boat. If neither of the competitors feels comfortable with controlling the boat, the captain can do that but cannot provide any information, instructions lures or expertise in finding or catching fish. While this is the second year I have participated in this state tournament, it was a real pleasure watching these potential young professional fishermen dissect and seine the water. It proved two things to me: an old dog can learn new tricks and what they taught me was worth learning.
Just like the professional weigh-ins, the competitors transported their catches in the boat livewell to a location where crowds could see how they fared. God’s Country Outdoors Outfitters in Albemarle graciously hosted the grand finale. Cody won first place in the senior bracket with 5 fish weighing 10.08 pounds. It was the only 5 fish limit brought to the scales. Joshua Farley nailed down second with 4 fish weighing 7.57 pounds. Third went to Taylor Schneider with 1 fish at 2.25 pounds
The junior division winner was Chris Carnes with 2 fish weighing 5.63 pounds. My other youth angler, Tristan Owens finished second with 1 fish weighing 1.48 pounds. There was no third place award as only two of the junior bracket weighed fish in.
If you are fisherman, this is an effort you need to consider getting behind. We always encourage you to take friends and family fishing but my experience with this level of competition is really worthwhile. These young people are the next generation of star competitors. We really need to think about that in terms of our first experience with a fish tugging on our line and how far we’ve come through the experience. They need us. We’ll see you on the water.