Missouri holds first state high school bass tournament

06/12/2014 2:34 PM

06/12/2014 6:03 PM

Jim Huson had twice the reason to celebrate after the Bass Pro Shops Open Championship of High School Fishing concluded Sunday at Table Rock Lake.

Huson poured his soul into making a Missouri championship tournament a reality, working since 2008 to bring bass fishing onto the high-school scene. This two-day tournament was the culmination of his dreams.

And fittingly, the Republic High School team he coaches came out as the winner in the team competition. Ava High School won the individual title, after Cody Huff and Colten Levan brought in a two-day total of 22.54 pounds of bass.

“I don’t think anyone could have scripted a better scenario,” said Huson, a longtime teacher at Republic. “We had a lot of kids fishing, they caught bass, and we got them on the water and back in safely.

“It was just a great day.”

The tournament was the first for high school teams signed up with the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s bass-fishing program, but it wasn’t an official state championship. Organizers still have to reach a designated number of participating schools before an official high school state tournament can be held.

This was more of a dress rehearsal, with the sponsorship of Bass Pro Shops and the organization of Mike Webb and Central Pro-Am.

The tournament attracted 103 student fishermen from 12 schools. Two-person teams were paired with adult boat drivers and the students made the decisions on where and how to fish.

Republic won $5,000 in scholarship money for its championship.

Catch of the week

Lenn Fikes doesn’t classify himself as a fishing expert.

He fishes with a Zebco 202 reel, a beginner’s special, and he gets out maybe once a week to wet a line.

But today, he is the center of attention in local fishing circles. That attention came when he caught a 3-pound, 6-ounce crappie on Memorial Day at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area near Lee’s Summit.

“In the past, all we’d catch at the Reed Area were small crappies,” said Fikes, 47, of Independence. “Some of my friends started going to Smithville, where the crappies were bigger.

“But lately, Reed has been better. I fished there a few days before Memorial Day and I caught one crappie that was 13 1/2 inches, so I came back.”

It’s a good thing he did. Fishing at about noon, he watched as something hit the minnow he was using and made a run with his bobber. At first, he thought it was an “angry little teenage bass.”

But when he got his fish to the surface, he was shocked to see that it was the biggest crappie he had ever seen.

“It was my lucky day,” Fikes said.

A special tournament

Chance Brake and Sidney Smith, the Kansas teenagers who have an outdoors series on the internet, are at it again.

Brake and Smith who live near Caney Valley, Kan., are sponsoring their second annual Catfishing Fundraiser Tournament to raise money to benefit the family of a young boy with a lymphatic-vascular malformation who has undergone multiple surgeries.

Registration will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Caney Valley Recreation Center, 403 E. First St, Caney Valley. The teams of one to three fishermen will be able to fish anywhere in Kansas or Oklahoma, but they must be back to the recreation center by 3 p.m. Sunday to weigh in their catch.

For more information call 620-330-0700 or 620-205-7956.

New boat ramp to open

Kansas City-area fishermen will soon have better access to the Missouri River.

A boat ramp at Parkville’s new Platte Landing Park will be dedicated and opened at 10 a.m. June 21. The park can be reached off Main Street in Parkville, just upstream from the city’s English Landing Park.

The new boat ramp was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security obtained by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department. The Missouri Department of Conservation, under its Community Assistance Program, will reimburse up to 75 of the county’s costs to build the entrance road, parking lot and restrooms.

To reach Brent Frazee, The Star’s outdoors editor, call 816-234-4319 or send email to bfrazee@kcstar.com.

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