Lake Lanier set to host inaugural Bass Fishing Championship – Atlanta Journal Constitution


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History will be made at Lake Lanier on this Saturday with the first-ever GHSA Bass Fishing State Championship. The inaugural championship competition follows a season that featured four separate qualifying tournaments. This statewide-circuit began at Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Ga. on Saturday, January 23, 2021.A total of 120 registered boats with 240 registered student anglers took to the water and it was the tandem of Bowynn Brown and Shane Dill of Bainbridge High School that placed first with five (5) fish that weighed a total of 25.15 lbs. This was the top score posted in any of the state qualifiers this season by a significant margin, however, Storm Clark and Nash Fox from Harris County High School placed second with five fish that weighed 19.14 lbs—giving them the second-best score seen this season. Carter Koza and John Thomason from Mt Paran Christian School placed third with five fish weighing 17.13 lbs. These teams were amongst the 17 total teams that qualified for state at Lake Seminole and the action moved to West Point Lake in LaGrange, Ga. on Feb. 13 for the next state qualifying tournament.This round of the action featured a total of 139 two-person teams and Matthew Gunn and Robert Miller from Savannah Christian won with five bass that weighed a total of 17.4 pounds. Miller and Gunn were one of the 18 teams that punched their tickets to the state championship following the second qualifier. Chase Mason and Jonathon Garbacz posted a second-place finish with 16.0 pounds and Dylan Achtziger and Jacob Albright earned third-place with a cumulative 14.6-pound haul.The back-half of the qualifiers began on March 20 at Lake Oconee. This time, another 133 two-person teams hit the water and Greenbrier’s Tanner Hadden and Tyler Starkey earned a top finish with a combined total weight of 13.4 pounds. This duo was one of the 18 teams that earned championship berths at the Lake Oconee qualifier. Five more teams tallied 12 or more pounds in this incredibly-close qualifier, including Tift County’s Kolby Jordan and Russell Thomas that earned a second-place finish with 12.14 pounds.Lake Hartwell hosted the fourth and final qualifier on April 10 and 96 total teams participated. Mason White and Brandon Cowart of Cook High School won with five bass that weighed a total of 14.1 pounds, and a total of 15 two-person teams/boats qualified for the state championship. This boosted the total teams that qualified for this week’s state championship to 68. Jayden Faulkner and Davis Madden of Evans High School also had a major showing at Lake Hartwell and tallied a 13.10-pound haul to earn a second-place finish.Now that the field is set, the ultimate prize is on the table and the season’s best anglers will look to take home the first-ever state crown offered in the sport. Looking back, Bainbridge’s Brown and Dill had the biggest score by far this season with their 25.15-pound finish. Only one other team recorded 19 or more pounds, but a total of 36 teams that will be competing this weekend surpassed the 11-pound mark in the state qualifiers.
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