Guntersville, Ala. – Clinton High School standout and Bryan College signee, Jake Lee, along with his partner, Ryan Winchester, took the crown at the Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open on Lake Guntersville as they battled against 322 high school bass club teams, which set a record for most teams ever competing.
112 high school bass fishing clubs through eight states were represented at the open, which is one of three tournaments that allow the winners to advance to the Costa Bassmaster High School Championship. The date and location for the championship will be announced in the near future.
Lee wasn't the only future Lion to be in the spotlight at the open. The largest bass at the tournament was hauled in by Bryan College signee, Jake Mims, of Alexander High School in Douglasville, Ga. As he was reeling in a lure off a river ledge, the fish weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces got caught on a ChatterBait and registered as the big fish of the event. Mims, just being a junior, will join the Lion Anglers in Fall '17.
No stranger to the spotlight, Lee was part of the 2015 Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team. Lee and Winchester knew it would be a good day when they caught a five-bass limit by 7:45am, which was just over an hour after the start of the tournament. After finding a prime spot during the practice day, the two anglers traveled back to the location in the morning to see the spot had only gotten better. The shad spawn caught the attention of larger fish, which the team from Clinton took advantage of. Since the two met the limit early on, they had the opportunity to be selective as they worked their way through at least 20 pounds of largemouth.
"They just kept hitting in that one spot and it was amazing," explained Lee. "We never experienced anything like it and probably never will again."
Lee and Winchester had the winning weight of 24 pounds, 8 ounces, followed by North Augusta High School (S.C.) in second with 23-12. A team from the Buffalo Grove Bass Fishing Club (Ill.) rounded out the top-three spots with 22-2.
Pictured above: The Bryan College "Jakes" - Southern Open Champion & Big Bass Honors
"We are very proud to have Jake join us in the fall," said Bryan College Head Fishing Coach, Mike Keen. "We feel that he will have an immediate impact on our team as he continues to push himself and excel in the high school ranks."
For more information on the Bryan Lions Fishing Team, visit bryanlions.com/fishing.