Brakefield and White take Junior Series title at Saginaw Bay
BAY CITY, Mich. —

Hunter Brakefield and Landon White, of the Mt. Juliet (Tenn.) Fishing Team, caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces on Sunday to win the Bassmaster Junior Series stop at Saginaw Bay.

It was an impressive total considering teams couldn’t fish super-productive Saginaw Bay on Sunday because of high winds and a small-craft advisory. The field of 11 Junior teams had full access to nearly 50 miles of Saginaw River shoreline, however, which worked just fine for the triumphant Tennessee tandem.

The boys threw a firetiger-colored Strike King 1.5 squarebill crankbait to catch their best bass, targeting rockpiles and riprap off points.

“The fish were biting all day,” said Brakefield, 13. “We got our limit before 7 in the morning, and we’d already culled four fish by then. It was a fun day.”

Brakefield estimated he and White had between 30 and 40 bites on Sunday.

White, 11, said he was happy to stay in the river and target largemouth bass. He caught two of the five fish the boys weighed in.

The duo qualified for the Bassmaster Junior National Championship, which is scheduled for July 26-27 at Chickamauga Lake in Dayton, Tenn. As many as 150 teams are expected to compete, and for their part, Brakefield and White are excited to fish in their home state next month with a national title on the line.

“We fished Nationals on Lake Hartwell (last year) and I’ve fished (on Chickamauga before),” White said. “I’m learning a lot about catching bass in all these big tournaments.” Seven of the 11 duos caught a limit on Sunday.

Brady Wells and Dakota Gordon, of the Bath County (Ky.) Juniors, placed second with a 13-pound limit. Mackenzie and Jacob Muntz of Ohio’s Black Swamp Youth Bass Club finished third with an 11-11 limit.

Crews McFerrin fished alone Sunday but caught a 3-7, the heaviest bass weighed. He finished fourth overall with an 11-4 limit.

The derby in Michigan was the fourth and final event of the 2024 Bassmaster Junior Series regular season, with tournaments previously held at Clarks Hill Reservoir in Georgia, Douglas Lake in Tennessee and Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas. Qualifiers from those events will join the Top 10 teams from the Saginaw Bay tournament at Chickamauga next month.

Go Great Lakes Bay hosted this week’s events.