ANDERSON, S.C. (July 6, 2021) – Martinsburg, Pennsylvania’s Central High School duo of Gerald Brumbaugh and Hunter Klotz brought a three-bass limit to the scale weighing 9 pounds, 9 ounces to win the 2021 High School Fishing National Championship on Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina, last week. Central’s three-day total of nine bass totaling 28-13 gave them the win by a 1-pound, 14-ounce margin and earned the duo $10,000, berths as Strike King co-anglers into the lucrative Toyota Series Championship event, and several scholarships offers from colleges with fishing teams.
Brumbaugh and Klotz are childhood friends, having fished and played backyard basketball together for as long as they can remember. The duo overcame a host of talented anglers to claim high school fishing’s top crown. To do so, they leaned on consistency and the teachings of their captain, Brumbaugh’s father Gerald.
“It was a grind today,” said Klotz. “We learned that when it gets tough, you don’t always need to change things up. You just keep grinding and grinding and grinding, because there isn’t one perfect thing you need to do.”
“I think a lot of people went in and beat the bank today,” added Brumbaugh. “But we learned to keep with it.”
“I told the camera boat today that we would need a kicker fish to win,” said Klotz.
That kicker never came, but the grind paid off an hour before weigh-in, when the duo boated a solid, 2-pound keeper that enabled them to cull a 1-pounder. Though it wasn’t the lunker bucketmouth they were hoping for, the bass propelled them to a finish just over a pound above Hart and Fisher, who they knocked off the hot seat before claiming their victory.
“We were running cane piles all week,” explained Brumbaugh. “It’s no secret. But without Garmin LiveScope, we aren’t winning this week. We aren’t sponsored by them or anything, that’s just how it is.”
“I had to do a double-take at first,” added Klotz. “You would throw the bait out there and the fish would all fly up to it. You could see them. It looked like a volcano rising up, but they would all sit there and they wouldn’t bite. Sometimes, you just watch them on the graph, they swim right under your boat and you have to go somewhere else.”
The teammates say they used a bait they’d never thrown before this week to take home the title, a jointed swimbait called the Sebile Magic Swimmer. By burning the unusual herring-imitating swimbait just under the surface, they were able to coax bass out of cover and towards the surface for a bite.
“Sometimes,” Klotz said, “They would smack it and you would miss them. Other times, they would suck it down.”
The Central High School duo found the bait by chance at a local tackle store. After reading about recent tournaments online, they coerced a store owner into selling them some of a precious stash that was kept behind the counter in unmarked boxes. And though they say that every fish they weighed came from a Magic Swimmer, their pattern did vary slightly throughout the week.
Early on, bream-colored baits and a medium-speed retrieve prevailed. As weather moved in, they switched to shad-colored baits and began reeling as fast as their 7:1:1 reels would allow – all in an attempt to trigger the reaction bite. At each cane pile, they would watch fish on LiveScope, make several casts and run on to the next waypoint.
The team estimated that they covered more than 50 spots each day.
A total of 259 high school teams competed for a share of the more than $3 million in scholarships and prizes in the National Championship and the High School Fishing World Finals tournaments, held in conjunction with each on Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina. The event was hosted by the Anderson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The top 10 finishers from the event were:
1st: Central High School, Martinsburg, Penn. – Gerald Brumbaugh and Hunter Klotz, nine bass, 28-13
2nd: Madison County High School, Danielsville, Ga. – Logan Fisher and Will Hart, nine bass, 26-15
3rd: South Forsyth High School, Cumming, Ga. – William Ayscue and Jacob Rogers, nine bass, 25-10
4th: Hewitt-Trussville High School, Trussville, Ala. – Andrew Jones and Carson Underwood, nine bass, 25-6
5th: Clarks Hill Youth Fishing Team, Martinez, Ga. – Brayden Batchelor and Evan Gonsalves, nine bass, 24-8
6th: Madison County High School, Danielsville, Ga. – Blake Hooper and Levi Seagraves, nine bass, 23-8
7th: Lumpkin County High School, Dahlonega, Ga. – Jake Barrett and Cooper McDonald, nine bass, 21-15
8th: Alhambra High School, Martinez, Calif. – Luke Beaty and Emmett Gargaro, nine bass, 21-9
9th: NCA Fishing, Harrison, Ark. – Lane King and Coleman Phillips, nine bass, 21-8
10th: Hartleys Hawgs – Nathan Fiant and Brett Hill, six bass, 17-10
Complete results from the event can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The 2021 High School Fishing National Championship on Lake Hartwell was a three-day event that saw the entire field of 259 teams compete for two days. The National Championship field was cut to the top 10 for day three and the winner was determined by heaviest three-day cumulative weight. The tournament featured the top anglers from the 2020 TBF High School Fishing State Championships and MLF U.S. Army High School Fishing Open Presented by Favorite Fishing events.
For complete details and updated information on High School Fishing, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the U.S. Army High School Fishing Presented by Favorite Fishing on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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