Cassville anglers win NYFA title

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Fletcher, White reel in the finishing title, $2,000 in scholarships

Cassville High School’s Riley Fletcher and Gavin White targeted both deep and shallow bass to win the National Youth Fishing Association (NYFA) Arkansas Division Championship Sunday at Norfork Lake.

Fletcher and White caught a four-bass limit weighing 9.27 pounds to win the high school competition of the championship and collect $2,000 in scholarship money.

“We caught a limit of Kentuckies (spotted bass) early that were suspended,” Fletcher said. “We were sitting over 110 feet of water. After that, we went up North Fork River into Bryant Creek and caught some blacks (largemouth bass) and culled out the Kentuckies.”

They found both the deep and shallow fish while practicing on Saturday and then duplicated their patterns the next day.

The winners relied on 2.8-inch Keitech swimbaits attached to 1/4-ounce jigheads to catch the spotted bass suspended about 20-30 feet deep.

Despite encountering calm conditions and bluebird skies, Fletcher and White caught largemouth later in the day on a Whopper Plopper topwater lure they threw around isolated laydowns along flats in 8-10 feet of water.

Ozark High School anglers Dalton Combs and Cody Tumlin finished second with an 8.55-pound limit and weighed in the big bass (3.19 pounds) of the tournament. They caught all of their fish jigging white or chrome Jewel Bait Company SCUBA Spoons along bridge pilings.

“We were catching them between 20-40 feet,” Combs said. “Our spoons were about 3/4 or 1 ounce so we would pitch next to those bridge pilings and count down at least seven seconds and then start working it back. We would hit two or three pilings and then one of the pilings would have three or four fish on it.”

Ozark High’s Trenton Denief and Tristan Cunningham finished third for the second time in a NYFA event at Norfork. They took third in the season opener at Norfork in March and accomplished the same feat in the championship by weighing in a 5.35-pound limit.

They caught nine keepers flipping a brown 3/8-ounce ballhead jig and green pumpkin/purple flake Zoom Speed Craw to trees and willow bushes.

“We were way up the North Fork River up by Tecumseh,” Denief said. “It was a grind for sure. We just couldn’t get the big ones.”

Dalton Johnson of Prairie Grove High School and Reese Jones of Rogers High School won the Bass Pro Shops Team of the Year Award and $1,000 in scholarship money.

Kendall Meadors of Rogersville won the middle school competition with 3.72 pounds.

The championship drew 53 high school and middle school teams and gave away $11,000 in scholarship money.

For more information on NYFA tournaments, visit

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