130 teams competed in a two day event on Lake Okeechobee on Jan. 3rd and 4th. The top 18 teams move onto the National Championship. We sat down with one of the members of the winning team, American Tackle Employee Hunter McKamey, and he took us through his teams quest for victory.
Hunter recounts the tournament and his win;
We put in a lot of practice time for this event. We made two weekend trips down to Okeechobee prior to Christmas and also 4 practice days before the tournament. Even with all the added practice time, we were pretty disappointed in how our practice went. We managed to find some decent 2-4 lb. fish, but never could find the large kicker fish.
Going into tournament day we had 3 key spots we planned on fishing; however, due to extreme wind conditions (20-30mph), 2 of our spots were not fishable due to stained water. So that left one primary spot for us to fish. We caught our entire weight of 18-15 out of this spot on Day 1 using Mag. Ultravibe Speed worms and Gambler Burner worms in Junebug color. We left it around noon to save fish for Day 2. Our weight was enough to lead the event going into Day 2.
On Day 2, the wind relaxed to 10 mph, but the water temp dropped 5 degrees overnight from 67 degrees to 62 degrees. We were nervous the fish would be reluctant to bite due to the colder water temps., but the weather conditions actually proved to work in our favor.
Our spot was a transition area for bedding and pre-spawn bass. One side of the area was a reed line and the other consisted of a hard line of hydrilla mats. The colder water pulled the bedding fish out of the reed line, plus there were still pre-spawn fish moving in from the mats. There was a large population of quality size fish that merged into the area we were fishing. We used the same technique as Day 1 and our spot produced 20-13 on Day 2 including a 6 lber and 5.5 lber.
Welcome to the New Age – Bass Fishing
Our two day total weight was 39-12 which was enough to seal the victory. It definitely came as a shock to us. We knew we had a great shot at making the top 18 cut and moving onto Nationals, but we did not expect to win the entire event.
Image and video courtesy American Tackle