Little John wins big for Junior Bassmaster

Nania’s second to none 11/12/2008

Joey Nania won his second Junior Bassmaster World Championship last Saturday at Geary County State Lake in Junction City, Kan. This was the first Junior Championship to be held in conjunction with the Federation Nation Championship and conditions were brutal. Previously, Junior Championships were held in conjunction with the Bassmaster Classic.

The 17-year-old Liberty Lake, Wash., resident threw a crawdad Spro Little John crankbait and caught two fish for 4-01 to clinch the 15- to 18-year-old age group title. He won a fully-rigged Triton/Mercury Alliance boat package in addition to $6,000 in scholarship awards. He also won the 11- 14 age group in 2005.

“This feels good to win and has been a long dry spell,” he said. “This was my fifth Junior World Championship. I really worked hard for this tournament.”

He made the 1,500-mile trip from eastern Washington the previous Sunday with his dad to identify some key spots for the tournament.

“The water had dropped like 5 degrees since I first started fishing on Tuesday,” Nania said. “It was better fishing earlier this week. In practice I found a couple crankbait fish. With the cold front they closed their mouths so I decided to trick them into biting the crankbait, just something to fly by them.”

Drew Creel of Shawnee, Okla., took 2nd with a 3-04 two-fish total. The pair of bass were caught on an A&M Halo Jig with a brush bug trailer.

“I just enjoyed being out there and trying to win,” Creel said. “My dad and brother got me started fishing, and the competition is a lot of fun.”

The six anglers in the 11-14 age group didn’t catch any legal fish and split the $11,000 in scholarship awards.

The 12 JWC anglers qualified for the championship event, two from each of the six Federation Nation divisions.

In the CastingKids competition, Jonny Schultz of Maumelle, Ark., defended his title by beating Ryan Werley of Danielsville, Pa., in a three-round castoff in the 11-14 age group.

Hunter Hutchinson of Sherwood, Ore., claimed the 7-10 age group title in a one-round castoff against Garrett Isbell of Ragland, Ala. Both Schultz and Hutchinson won $5,000 scholarships.

The CastingKids championship included 12 youth competitors who qualified from each of the six Federation Nation divisions.


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