Hillcrest High angler wins Midwest Shootout
Kimberling City, Mo.—Hillcrest High School’s Josh Ruggles turned his one-man show into a winning performance during the National Youth Fishing Association (NYFA) Shootout Oct. 14-15 at Table Rock Lake.
While fishing solo in the championship event, Ruggles caught six bass weighing 11.90 pounds to win the high school division of the tournament and receive $1,250 in scholarship money. His five-bass limit on the second day of the tournament was the only limit weighed in out of 110 high school teams.
Ruggles caught one keeper weighing 1.40 pounds the first competition day fishing a drop shot rig with a 4-inch green pumpkin Chompers finesse worm about 40 feet deep along a bridge pier. However his day was cut short when his boat captain’s boat hit a log around Shell Knob and tore up the transom.
The second day Ruggles went to Aunt’s Creek and relied on the drop shot rig to catch his limit around boat docks. “I had four keepers by about 8:30 in the morning and then about 10:30 I had five,” he said.
Cassville High School’s Riley Fletcher and Gavin White took second place with 11.75 pounds and earned $2,300 in scholarship money. They caught three keepers the first day working Zara Spooks on long points and finished the day in third place. Fletcher said they knew their pattern “wasn’t going to work” the second day so they ran up the White River and caught their keepers on River2Sea Whopper Ploppers in treetops in pockets.
First-day leaders Devon Rathbun and Caleb Haines of Parkview High School finished third with 10.32 pounds and won $2,200 in scholarship money. The first day they caught four keepers throwing a Zara Spook and a Whopper Plopper in the middle of a cove. “We found a school of bass that were busting (shad) and they were everywhere,” Rathbun said. The Parkview anglers were unable to find the schooling bass the next day and caught only one keeper on a jigging spoon about 25 feet deep under a dock.
Rathbun and Haines were also the overall Team of the Year Award winners from the three NYFA divisions.
Hunter Rankin of Glendale won the middle school division of the tournament with 6.22 pounds and was awarded $400 in scholarship money.
For more information on NYFA tournaments, visit www.teenanglers.net.