KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Mobility was the key for Gracie Herbold and Aaron Cherry of Headland Bass Team, who caught a five-bass limit that weighed 16 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Classic presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors on Watts Bar Lake, held in conjunction with the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Hailing from Headland, Ala., the winners found their bass in creeks. Herbold said their bites varied from the mouths to the backs of the creeks, but the key was targeting chunk rock, which held heat.
“It really just depended on where the fish were,” Herbold said. “A lot of times, they were just cruising, and we picked them up.”
Cherry said he and his partner fished Strike King Redeye Shad Tungsten 2-Tap and Strike King 2.5 squarebill crankbaits. Red proved to be the best color for both.
“I think they would have eaten either one, you just had to get it in front of them,” he said.
The key to doing that was a run-and-gun strategy, which took them to 20 different spots.
“He caught three fish back to back in one little area, but for a lot of the time, it was just one every now and then,” Herbold said. “We had a very long lull in the middle of the day where we didn’t catch anything.”
Cherry noted that they caught two good bass late in the day and ended up culling a smaller one.
“I think the sun got up and warmed those rocks,” he said. “The last one I caught was probably in about 3 inches of water. They were really shallow warming up.”
Cherry, who caught most of his fish on the Redeye Shad, said the key to a proper presentation was letting the bait hit bottom and then slow rolling it back. The bites, Herbold said, were convincing.
“You knew when they bit,” she said. “The fish would run straight at you, so you had to reel very fast to catch up.”
The event comprised 10 teams. The qualification format took the top two teams from each of the four 2018 High School Opens, the top two from the 2018 High School National Championship and the 2018 Tennessee State Championship team. One of the 11 eligible teams was unable to participate.
2019 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors Title Sponsor: Mossy Oak Fishing
2019 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors Presenting Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors
2019 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2019 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors Premier Sponsors: Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Talon
2019 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, TNT Fireworks
2019 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Classic presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors Host: Visit Knoxville Sports Commission
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. With more than 510,000 members internationally, B.A.S.S. is not only home to the nation’s premier fishing tournament trails, but it also boasts the most expansive and comprehensive media network in the fishing industry. Its media include The Bassmasters on the ESPN networks, more than 130 hours of tournament programming on the Pursuit Channel, 250 hours of on-the-water streaming coverage on Bassmaster LIVE and 1 million monthly visitors to the flagship website on bass fishing – Bassmaster.com. B.A.S.S. also provides more than 4.4 million readers with the best in bass fishing coverage through Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times, and its radio and social media programs and events reach hundreds of thousands each month.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, culminating in the ultimate event on the biggest stage for competitive anglers, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The trail also includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series, and the Bassmaster Team Championship.