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Alabama High School Anglers Dominate Bassmaster High School Southern Open
High school bass fishing is on fire as Kentucky Lake hosts a record-setting 347 boats.
By Mike Bolton
Posted Monday May 1 2017, 10:13 AM
Steven Swan (left) and Logan Henderson (right) won the 2017 Bassmaster Southern Open on Chickamauga Lake in Chattanooga on Saturday, April 29 with a catch of 24-11. They are shown with boat captain Kenny Pannell.
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Alabama high school fishing teams swept the first five places in the Bassmaster High School Southern Open on Chickamauga Lake on Saturday, April 29 in an event that saw a number of B.A.S.S. records fall.

A field of 347 boats competed in the event that will send the top-35 teams to the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship on June 19-24 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tenn. The 347 boats was the biggest field on any level in Bassmaster history.

Springville High School anglers Logan Henderson and Steven Swann, fishing from a boat captained by AON contributor Kenny Pannell, won the event with a five-fish limit of 24-lbs., 1-oz. That catch was the largest ever in a B.A.S.S. high school event. Their catch was buoyed by an 8-lb., 3-oz. largemouth.

Colton Williams and Chase Taylor of the Good Hope Fishing Team finished second with 22-11, and Houston Calvert and Chase Abbott of the Cold Springs Fishing Team finished third with 20-14.  Justin Lowery and James Cobbs of Cullman High School finished fourth, and Chace Gregory and Tucker Weidler of Helena High School finished fifth.

Another record that fell was the largest bass ever caught during a B.A.S.S. high school event. Chase Carter and Adam Sansom of the North West Georgia Anglers produced a largemouth that weighed 10-11.

“It started off kind of slow for us,” said Henderson, a sophomore at Springville High School in St. Clair County. “Then we caught one about 5 pounds—Steven did—and at about 10:15, we caught one that weighed 8-3. Then from about 10:15 until about noon, it just got slow.”

Henderson and Swann caught all of their postspawn bass around brushpiles in 12 to 15 feet of water. They caught their fish on a Strike King 5XD crankbait.

“We fished a football-head jig and a spoon, but we couldn’t get them to hit either one,” Swann said. “All of a sudden, from about 1 to 3, they just started biting again.”

It was the first trip for the pair to Chickamauga, and they only had about a day and a half to practice. Pannell, their boat captain, who is also Logan’s grandfather, arrived a day earlier than the youngsters and did a little scouting himself.

There were moments of anxiety for the winning team during the midday lull—even with two big fish already in the livewell.

“It’s tough because you’re anticipating another big one,” Henderson said. “We didn’t want to waste those two big ones we had already caught.

“We finally changed areas, and the second spot where we started catching them had brush that was a little more scattered.”

Williams and Taylor as the leaders, the eventual second-place finishers, weighed in early and had been sitting in the hot seat with 22-11 for more than an hour when Henderson and Swann took the stage.
© 2018 Alabama Outdoor News