The T.L. Hanna High School team of Derek Freeman and Trevor Callaham from Anderson won the final round of the TBF/FLW High School Fishing World Finals last weekend on Pickwick Lake out of Florence, Ala.
Freeman and Callaham dropped a 20-pound, 2-ounce limit on the scales on the final round to win more than $20,000 in college scholarships and prizes.
“This is a true blessing,” said Callaham, a recent graduate who will be attending Tri-County Technical College in Anderson this fall. “”I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
Open to all students participating in the TBF/FLW Student Angler Federation’s High School Fishing program, the World Finals is the largest open championship in the nation. The field of 166 teams competed head-to-head for two days, after which the top two teams from each state advanced to square off in the semifinal round, where weights were zeroed. All other teams battled in a consolation round.
The top 10 teams from the semifinals and the top 10 from the consolation round moved forward to the final day of fishing.
Freeman and Callaham weighed in five-bass limits at 17-12, 15-8 and 15-9, putting them in eighth place entering the final round. They turned in their best showing last Saturday with a 20-2 limit anchored by a 7-pound, 5-ounce lunker.
Throughout the event, Freeman and Callaham weighed all largemouths, despite Pickwick’s propensity to produce nice smallmouth and spotted bass. Their winning pattern focused on main-lake ledges primarily in 14 to 23 feet of water with deep-diving crankbaits, jigs, drop-shot rigs and shaky head rigs.
“After hitting it hard, we managed our spots and then swung for the fences in the finals,” said Freeman, a recent graduate who plans to attend Clemson University this fall. “All but one of the ledges were on the river channel.”
Ty Cox and Jacob Houston of Tupelo (Miss.) High School were second with 19-5. Ross Napier and Collin Reeves of Hartselle (Ala.) High School were third with 19-4.