White Wins TBF Junior World Championship
Hot Springs, Ark.—Aug. 22, 2015—West Virginia’s Tyler White hit the mother lode of schooling bass to win The Bass Federation’s 2015 Junior World Championship Aug. 21-22 on Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton.
In doing so, he topped a hard-fishing field of 39 TBF junior state champions ranging in age from 11 to 15 years old, and claimed a $2,500 scholarship to the school of his choice—plus a $250 Cabela’s gift card for his efforts.
The jackpot didn’t come right out of the gate, however—or without a fight.
On day one of the two-day event, which was held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, the young competitors squared off against anglers from their own TBF divisions for a coveted spot in the final round.
White topped the Mid-Atlantic Division with a five-bass limit weighing 8 pounds, 11 ounces. He was second overall and one of just two anglers to break the 8-pound barrier.
Kentucky’s Hunter Young paced the pack with an 8-pound, 12-ounce limit. With a blossoming topwater program promising to bear even more fruit on day two, he was the angler to beat as the remaining six finalists left the dock in a drizzle after a weather-delayed start around 7 a.m.
White’s go-to morning spot both days was a small island a short cast from the Clarion Resort launch ramp. A long, tapering point sweetened the structural pot, drawing passing pods of bass working their way through the surrounding open water.
“I stopped right away on day one, threw a topwater up there and they smoked it,” he told celebrity emcee Hank Parker.
But such was definitely not the case on day two. “I hadn’t gotten a bite by 9:55,” he recalled.
After a fishless start and looming rain clouds threatening a washout, White, of Oak Hill, was beginning to worry when a cove full of schooling bass turned his day around.
“I got lucky,” he said. “We made a run and saw a bunch of schoolers in a cove. It was incredible, there were just schools of spots and largemouths.”
White still had his work cut out for him, however. Although he was wielding one of his confidence baits—a slim-bodied Lucky Craft Gunfish topwater—he couldn’t get the breaking fish to take the bait. “I’d throw at a school, but couldn’t get them to race up on it,” he said.
With “flock-shooting” drawing a blank, he decided to target individual fish. “When the next bass popped up I put the bait right on his nose—and he hammered it,” White grinned.
The tactic held water until the schoolies sounded. “When the fish dove they went deeper, into about 24 feet of water,” he said. “I found them on the graph and dropped a dropshot rig on them and I caught about a 3-pound spot.”
When the dust settled he had a decent limit, but hopes of upgrading his stringer faded as the day wore on. “I never got another fish after about 11:30,” he added.
With weights zeroed on Saturday, all six finalists were in the hunt. But Young’s day one success was still fresh in their minds, and each also knew that with a field that rich in talent, anything could happen.
The crowd roared when White’s basket tipped the scale at 11 pounds, 4 ounces, and he took the hot seat, anxiously hoping it was enough for a victory. Adding to the pressure, it was White’s third straight visit to the TBF Junior Championship.
As it turned out, the third time was the charm. Young sacked a solid second limit, but it settled the scale at 6 pounds, 5 ounces, good for second place, a $1,500 scholarship and $200 Cabela’s gift card.
“This is just amazing,” White said of the win. “I don’t know how many prayers I’ve said about it.”
Rest of the best
3. Max Dispoto, Watertown, Conn., 3 bass, 4-14, $750 scholarship plus $200 Cabela’s gift card
4. Colby Miller, Elmer, La., 4 bass, 4-05, $325 scholarship plus $100 Cabela’s gift card
5. Brayden Liebe, Kelso, Wash., 2 bass, 2-06, $250 scholarship plus $100 Cabela’s gift card
6. Maxwell Trotter, Decatur, Ill., 2 bass, 2-00, $200 scholarship plus $100 Cabela’s gift card
A total of 81 bass weighing 115 pounds, 13 ounces crossed the stage at the Clarion Resort during the event. Adding to the excitement, all Junior World Championship contestants participated in a champion’s presentation and parade on the FLW main stage prior to Saturday’s Forrest Wood Cup weigh-in.
“What a terrific event,” said TBF National Youth Director Mark Gintert. “The kids were here fishing hard all week, and everyone enjoyed the hospitality and area attractions of Hot Springs.”
Gintert credited Visit Hot Springs and Clarion Inn on the Lake for helping the TBF contingent savor all the area has to offer. Special activities included an FLW Pizza Party and “Night at the Museum” at the Mid-America Science Museum.
The no-entry-fee TBF Junior World Championship is produced by a partnership between The Bass Federation and FLW Outdoors. Sponsors include Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Berkley, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Minn Kota and Humminbird.
For details, visit bassfederation.com or call TBF National Headquarters at (580) 765-9031.
For final Day 2 Results CLICK HERE
For Day 1 Results CLICK HERE