The 2020-21 Kansas BASS Nation High School/Youth fishing season is in an unusual predicament this fall after COVID-19 caused delays for several events last season.
The 2019-20 season in Kansas technically ended just three weeks ago with the state championship, although anglers from those clubs are still waiting to compete in the 2019-20 Bassmaster national championship tournaments later this month. Because of this, there's some overlap between the seasons, with the 2020-21 season officially kicking off last weekend in Kansas with a pair of tournaments on Perry Reservoir in Jefferson County.
The high school opener took place Sept. 26 and saw a bountiful field of competitors, with 36 of the 39 registered teams taking the field to compete. In the end, it was Olathe East's Tyler Kendrick and Ian Bellomo who came away with the top prize, weighing a bag of 11.86 pounds to knock off runners-up Ryder Mains and Mason Chapman, of Lenexa's Legacy Christian, who finished with 9.75 pounds.
Kickback Club’s Dayne Kobriger and Logan Mothersbaugh made their way into the top three with a 7.09-pound bag, with teammates Logan Baechle and Cole O'Bannon finishing fourth with 5.87 pounds and Basehor-Linwood’s Shaydon Weight and Jace Comba rounding out the top five with 4.13 pounds.
Topekans Nick and Kyle Herrman, making the jump from the youth circuit to the high school ranks as eighth-graders this season, finished their debut in 14th after weighing in just 1.94 pounds. The twin brothers are set to compete at the Bassmaster Junior National Championship from Oct. 19-20 at Caroll County 1000 Acre Recreational Lake in Huntingdon, Tenn., with Kyle Herrman also set to compete this weekend at the Big Bass Zone Junior Championship at Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho. Ottawa’s Brock Wadkins is competing in that event, as well.
The Herrmans’ Capital City teammates, Brock Herrman (no relation) and Brooks Linnebur, took seventh with a weight of 3.28 pounds.
Other notable high school finishers last Saturday include Kickback Club's Cale Harlan and Derek Landis, of Gardner-Edgerton, who finished eighth with 3.22 pounds, and Buhler's Nathan Fideldy and Preston Gover, the 2019-20 KBN High School Angler Team of the Year, who finished 11th with 2.32 pounds. Both teams earned spots on The Topeka Capital-Journal's first All-State High School Bass Fishing Team announced in August.
Louisburg’s Brady Daniels and Cameron McClellan, new members of the second-year OutCast Bass Club based out of nearby Franklin County, took 10th in their first tournament with a 2.35-pound bag.
In the youth division, Louisburg's Lucas Sheafer and Steele Smith began their state title defense off strong, winning the season opener with a one-fish bag of 3.74 pounds for their second-straight youth tournament victory, edging out newcomers Carter Coad and Gage Mains, of Legacy Christian, who posted a 3.17-pound fish for second during a rain-shortened tournament Sept. 27 on Perry.
Coad and Mains both have family ties within the KBN, as Coad is the nephew of professional angler Brent Chapman and the cousin of fellow Legacy Christian angler Mason Chapman, while Mains is the brother of Mason Chapman’s teammate in the high school ranks, Ryder Mains.
Circle's Aiden Razey and Coy Stephens weighed 2.80 pounds to secure a top-three finish, with the Basehor-Linwood team of William Loewen and Hunter Grantham taking fourth (2.04).
Topeka's Avery Bowen and Ozawkie's Laiken Emanuel, fishing for the Topeka Jr. Hawgs club, were the only other team to weigh in, taking fifth with a 1.98-pound bass. A total of 23 boats took the field before the storms caused the event to be called.
The high school and youth anglers will return to action this weekend at Melvern Reservoir, with the high schoolers fishing Saturday and the youths Sunday.
For more information on the Kansas BASS Nation youth programs, contact youth director Travis Burch by phone at 913-562-4660 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.