West Laurens anglers win GHSA bass fishing state championship

A morning full of thunder and lightning in Augusta, Georgia, couldn’t cool down a heated battle for the fourth annual GHSA Bass Fishing State Championships.=

Ryan Soles and James Brooks from West Laurens joined Evans’ Jayden Faulkner and Davis Madden, the 2021 champions, Bainbridge’s Bowynn Brown and Shane Dill, the 2022 champions, and Lanier’s Bryson Dover and Angel Cornejo, the 2023 champions, as the only eight anglers to have won the GHSA Bass Fishing State championship. The state’s largest reservoir, Clarks Hill Lake, played host to 125 different boats from 59 different schools. Starting at 6:30 this morning, the anglers fought a 15-minute delay and less-than-ideal weather, along with an overfull lake. Anglers had to race to get back to Wildwood Park for the 3:00 weigh-ins, trying to put their names on the shortlist of state champions.

Soles and Brooks saved their best for the last tournament of the season, weighing in a bag more than double any other bag they weighed in this season. With a weight of 20 pounds, 12 ounces, they recorded the heaviest weight of the season and broke the championship tournament record of 20 pounds, 8 ounces, formerly held by last year’s champions Bryson Dover and Angel Cornejo. Along with winning the state championship, Soles and Brooks were one of five teams to qualify for the 2024 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship.

“We really feel it helped us,” Soles and Brooks said of the weather. “We caught two big fish on jigs and another on a chatter bait early in the day.”

The big bass of the day was caught by Gavin Smith and Clark Brasfield from Fellowship Christian School in Roswell. The bass weighed six ounces more than the next closest fish, coming in at a massive 5 pounds, 15 ounces.

Defending champions Bryson Dover and Angel Cornejo of Lanier High School had another stellar performance in the championship tournament, coming up just short, securing a runner-up finish along with being another team to qualify for the 2024 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship.

The other three teams to qualify for the 2024 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship were Lakeside’s Evans Roper Putnam and Andrew Higgins, South Forsyth’s Reese Mutter and Charles Roberts, and King’s Ridge’s Jackson Thomas and Cole Bradley.

1. JRyan Soles-James Brooks West Laurens 20-12

2. Bryson Dover-Angel Cornejo Lanier 17-12

3.Roper Putnam-Andrew Higgins Lakesides Evans 16-03

4. Reese Mutter and Charles Roberts South Forsyth 15-14

5. Jackson Thomas and Cole Bradley King’s Ridge’s 15-00

6. Carson Lamb-Gage Greene Jackson 14-11

7. Levi Irby-Colton Huber Central Carroll 14-11

8. Davis Madden-Adyn Desjadon Evans 14-07

9. Branton Champion-Jackson Behringer Richmond Hill 14-01

10. Churchill Harris-Campbell Patterson Oconee County 14-00

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