Jasper, Tx- The Ford SETX HS Championship Series presented by Skeeter Boats wrapped up its 3rd season last weekend with a two day championship event at Lake Sam Rayburn. Just over 300 teams qualified from the 5 tournament regular season to have the opportunity to compete for over $100,000 in scholarships and prizes. The weekend began on Friday night at Jasper High School where the teams were greeted by the many generous SETX sponsors who were eager to fill goody bags with all types of fishing gear and apparel. The night concluded as the SETX board recognized the top 15 teams in Angler of the Year points, and awarded those teams with a total of $30,000 in scholarships. SETX President Clint Fountain of Kirbyville said, "We want to put on a great championship for our kids and sponsors, but we also want to reward consistency over the season and we believe awarding our top 15 teams in AOY points does this. These 15 teams are competing against 450 teams in every tournament. They have proved their worth as young anglers and this is our way of recognizing them for their consistency throughout the season" concluded Fountain.
6am Saturday morning saw just over 300 teams wetting their lines in hopes of bringing back the heaviest 5 fish to Umphrey Pavilion, where the scene was almost 'carnival like'. Vice President Tom Selman of PNG said, "We have just about all of our sponsors here and each of them have set up booths and tents to display their merchandise and interact with the kids and the spectators who come out here to support them. We even have the Skeeter Boats Demo Team here with us to show off their state of the art products on the water. We simply cant thank these sponsors enough for all they have done for us at SETX to help us create this type of atmosphere for our kids and their families, it really is quite a scene during the weigh in festivities" concluded Selman.
Saturday evening saw many of the competitors at the pavilion competing in a washer tournament and eating a LOT of pizza which was provided for them. The turnout was great and the fellowship and friendly competition between other teams and other schools was really nice to see.
There was even mention that 12 "rubber duckies" could appear on the water Sunday that could win the anglers Ultra Pro X Camera's and Lowrance products for those who rescued them and brought them back to the weigh in.
Tackle Addict First Place Team- 35.87 LBS/Friendswood HS-Johnny Nemecek-Hunter Scott Boat Captain- John Nemecek/John Scott
$10,000.00 Scholarship, Lews Rods/Reels/Gear, Skeeter Apparel, Tool Set from Gopher, ETBU Scholarship
Day 1 saw many 15+ LB stringers brought to the weigh in, but it was the team of Nemecek/Scott from Friendswood that separated themselves from the rest of the field by nearly 6 lbs when they brought in 5 fish that weighed just a shade over 23 LBS. Boat Capt. John Nemecek said it was just an average day until around 11 o clock. "The boys had a small limit (9-10 LBS) when a 9.31 LB bass crushed Johnny's Live Target Frog. It was quite the scene. We all had to take a 5 minute break to catch our breath after we finally got the fish in the boat" said Nemecek. With renewed confidence, the team switched spots and that is when the boys really got focused. "Over the year, the boys have really learned to fish as a team and learned to compliment each others talents. They knew with a near 10 LB kicker, they had propelled themselves into contention. The big fish was nice, but they were not satisfied and desperately wanted to get those 14-15 inch fish out of the livewell." said Nemecek. That is exactly what they did as they covered water in the 147 area and were able to catch 3 more fish in the 3 to 3 1/2 LB range to rid themselves of the smaller fish they had caught earlier that morning. "Looking back now, that was a crucial time. Those last few culls is what gave them the near 6 LB cushion they would need on Day 2." concluded Nemecek.
Day 2 is when this story gets really interesting about our team from Friendswood. Johnny and his Mother Diane were originally scheduled to be on a flight to Colorado Springs at 9 am Sunday morning to attend a baseball camp at the Air Force Academy, where Johnny aspires to be a cadet and baseball player. After finishing day one in first place, plans changed quite dramatically. "I called my wife and told her this is a once in a lifetime chance these boys have, we have to see if we can get the flight changed" said Nemecek. With a small 'charge' the airline was able to move the flight to 7 PM Sunday, which allowed Johnny to fish Sunday, but would not allow him to be able to attend the weigh in ceremonies with his partner Hunter and his new boat captain, John Scott (Hunter's father).
It was around 12:45 Sunday when Mr Scott called the Nemecek's and told them, "We have about 12-13 Lbs of fish, but the batteries on the boat are dead and we are floating dead here in Harvey Creek". Tournament officials were notified of the situation and assured the team that as long as the team and the fish remained together, they could attain alternate transportation. Since the team was fishing from Mr Nemecek's boat with Mr Scott as their captain, Mr Nemecek was able to retrieve Mr Scotts boat to rescue them. "I got there and they transferred the fish to Mr Scotts boat, they jumped in, slapped on their life jackets, I jumped in my dead boat, and they were gone! There I was stuck!" said Nemecek. It was a small sacrifice as Mr Nemecek was able to get assistance and eventually get back just in time to see Hunter and his Dad accept the first place trophy with a total weight of 35.87 LBS! Johnny got off the boat and quite literally ran through the crowd of spectators to get in his mothers car so he could catch his flight to Colorado Springs in Houston. And yes, Johnny did make his flight! Best of luck at the Air Force Academy Camp! Wow, what a weekend for this team. Congrats to our champions!
The team wished to thank God for his blessings, all of the SETX sponsors for their support of HS Fishing, the SETX staff and Volunteers, Triton, Mercury, Wade Bullard, Hook Spit, UV Country, DBG Services, Phoenix Industrial, and Sarge Rods.
Second Place Team- 32.51 LBS/ Orangefield HS- Brock Cross- Coby Cross Boat Captain- Chad Cross
$8,000.00 Scholarship, Lews Rods/Reels/Gear, Skeeter Apparel, Tool Set from Gopher
Fathers Day could not have been much sweeter for Chad Cross as he watched his two boys fish their way to a 2nd place finish this past weekend at the Ford SETX HS Championship. "I am blessed for sure and I am so proud of the anglers and young men these two boys have become. They have really become excellent anglers and it is fun to sit back and watch their growth" said Capt. Cross. Launching at San Augustine Park and fishing relatively close, the team from Orangefield had plenty of confidence coming into the tournament. "We finished 9th in the May tournament and we have been fishing this general area for the past 4 tournaments. It seems the hotter it has gotten, the better the fishing gets in this area" continued Cross. Focusing on the 6-10 foot depths, the team used Pop-R's and Frogs early to catch their fish, but also said that pitching creature baits near the flooded trees helped out as well. "We really thought that the tougher bite on Sunday would benefit us because we felt we were doing something a little different than everyone else. We basically caught the same fish on Sunday as we did Saturday, with the exception of the 6.12 LB kicker we had on Sunday" concluded Cross. Even though the day one weight of 14 LBS left the team out of the top ten on the first day, the nearly 19 Lb bag on Sunday quickly vaulted Team Cross into the Gopher Hot Seat under Umphrey Pavilion as the top ten teams from Saturday prepared to weigh in. One by one, the top teams weighed their fish and each failed to knock them out of the Gopher Hot Seat. With only the leaders from day one left to weigh, the Orangefield team anxiously awaited their fate as they hoped to see a weight under 9 LBS. When the scales tipped at just a shade over 12, they had finally been knocked off the Gopher Hot Seat and into a very respectable second place finish. The team showed nothing but class and sportsmanship as tournament emcee John Salamone remarked several times during the top ten weigh in. "That hot seat is not a pleasant place to be and those kids did a great job of making it fun for everyone, hats off to them" said Salamone.
The team wished to thank Coach Brown, the SETX crew and all of the volunteers that make this possible.
Third Place Team- 31.45 LBS Port Neches Groves HS- Layne Mobley- Jace Vasquez Boat Captain- Wyatt Withers
$7,000.00 Scholarship, Lews Rods/Reels/Gear, Skeeter Apparel
Boat Capt. Wyatt Withers lives in Buna. His two anglers are PNG boys. Hmmm. "Yeah, I take a lot of grief from the locals about my jersey sometimes, but these two boys make it worth it for me". Of course, its all in good fun, but it's people like Capt. Withers that make SETX such a unique organization. "I am just glad to have the opportunity to help these boys out and get them out on the water" said Withers. Well, thank you Mr Withers for a job well done this past weekend! The team from PNG had a very similar story to our second place team from Orangefield. "We caught right at 14 LBS on Saturday and just over 18 on Sunday" said Withers. Had the team from Orangefield not caught them on Sunday, then it would have been these guys on the Gopher Hot Seat watching 9 teams trying to knock them off. Just like the 2nd place team, the PNG team came from outside the top 10 to capture the third place prize.
Launching at Cassells Boykin, the PNG team focused on 6-8 foot of water in the 147 area. "We caught our fish on Beaver type baits and frogs" said Capt. Withers. The team had their Saturday limit by 7:15 and Sunday limit by 8:45. When asked about the difference between Saturday and Sunday, Capt Withers replied "Sunday was slower, but the quality was better. The boys also flipped more on Sunday to tighter cover. We had a 5.6 and 6.0 on Sunday, but we did not catch as many fish as we did on Saturday" said Withers. "Our biggest challenge was some minor trolling motor problems and simply keeping the fish alive. it was a full time job making sure those big fish stayed upright in that livewell. We actually cut our fishing time a little short to make sure those fish were taken care of." concluded Withers.
The team wished to thank the Layne and Jace's Mom's and their families for their support and getting these boys on the water.
Rest of the Top Ten
4th Place- Danny Mullins/Robert Noel--Huntington HS--31.17 LBS--$6000.00
5th Place (tie)- Hunter Muncrief/Landon McCary--West Sabine HS--30.86 LBS--$4500.00
5th Place (tie)- Dillian Matreyeon/Monty Poe--Lumberton HS--30.86 LBS--$4500.00
7th Place- Bryce Roder/Jared Goebel--Lumberton HS--30.66 LBS--$3500.00
8th Place- Cory Hyden/Robby Clark--Spurger HS--30.25 LBS--$3000.00
9th Place- Collin Hale/Devin Yates--Central Heights HS--30.22 LBS--$2500.00
10th Place- Chandler Burgay/Hunter Smith--Center HS--30.02 LBS--$2000.00
Total Places Paid- 50
Total Championship Scholarship Payout- $75,000.00
1 Baylee Flowers-Natalie Doucet- Lumberton HS- $7000.00
2 Jacob Thompson- Warren HS- $4000.00
3 Braden Berryman-Kenneth Pickett- $3000.00
4 Chandler Burgay-Hunter Smith- $2500.00
5 Easton Anderson-Ty Cruse- $2000.00
6 River Lee-Chance Cobb- $1750.00
7 Andrew Morris-Hunter Kaemmerling- $1500.00
8 Hunter Muncrief-Landen Mccary- $1400.00
9 Trace O'Dell-Matthew Martin- $1300.00
10 Joe BeeBee-Chad Mrazek- $1200.00
11 Kyler Hebert-Ryan Ford- $1100.00
12 Devin Prine-Blaine Marks- $1000.00
13 Kaden Duncan-Randy Abate- $900.00
14 Brett Clark-Holly Hughes- $750.00
15 Brandi Posey-Dakota Posey- $600.00
Total Places Paid- 15
Total AOY Scholarship Payout- $30,000.00
Top 3 Big Bass
Johnnie Nemecek/Hunter Scott- Friendswood HS- 9.36 LBS (LEWS Rod and Reel)
Jacob Bostock/Mykal Vera- Corrigan Camden HS- 8.18 LBS (Lews Reel)
Ryan Barrett/Royce Berry- Huntington HS- 7.84 LBS (Lews Rod)
With the backing and support of sponsors like the South Texas Ford Dealers Association and Skeeter Boats, the SETX HS Fishing Association has emerged as the premiere HS fishing trail in the country.
A huge thank you goes out to all of our SETX sponsors for the 2015-2016 season. The following companies are the reason SETX exists and we cant thank them enough:
Lews, Costa Del Mar, Tackle Addict, Coastal Field Services, Academy, Lowrance, 6th Sense, Livingston Lures, Minn Kota, Rat L Trap, Gopher Industries, Kick N Bass Scents, Clark Reehm and the Elite Angler Academy, Lake Fork Tackle/Rod Sox, Culprit, Big Bite Baits, Ultra Pro X Cameras, Happy Trails RV's, Cowboy Power Sports, Gator Guards, A-1 Glass, Crystal Heigley and the Allman Real Estate Team, Rayburn Country.
Story by Jet Donovan