Diligence Rewards Floyd And Gibbons With Bassmaster High School Classic Win

Staying with the deep game and capitalizing on random moments of opportunity led Tommy Floyd Jr. and James Gibbons to victory with a five-fish limit of 8 pounds, 13 ounces in the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Lake Keowee.

The clear Savannah River impoundment presented tough conditions compounded by morning rain. The winners tried fishing shallow, but when they determined they couldn’t find any prespawn staging bass, they committed to fishing in about 35 feet of water. Even there, their action was inconsistent.

“The fish bit in flurries and we could catch two or three,” Gibbons said.

Floyd and Gibbons relied on traditional deep-finesse presentations. They caught their fish on 1/4- and 3/8-ounce shaky heads fitted with watermelon candy finesse worms and drop shots with 1/4-ounce weights and finesse worms in the morning dawn color.

Floyd said finding the right type of bottom structure — mostly chunk rock boulders on the upper end of the lake — was essential to his team’s success. Using their Humminbird side-imaging and down-imaging unit helped them dial in the right targets.

“We hit three spots today,” Floyd said. “We rotated them all through the day.”

Also, Gibbons said that recognizing the fish’s noncommittal behavior allowed them to make a necessary adjustment that allowed the fish second and third chances. Throughout the day, the fish would nip at their baits. Looking past the frustration, Floyd and Gibbons recognized that the situation was ripe for persistence.

“You had to let the fish eat it,” he said. “You had to let them swim around with it for a long time because they were short-striking it. We could throw back to a fish to a fish three times and he would bite it each time.”

The Carhartt Bassmaster College Classic presented by Bass Pro Shops will take place Sunday on Lake Keowee with weigh-ins being held in the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville at 3:15 p.m. ET prior to the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods.