Kendall Goates and Cody Chessher were the top anglers in the Student Angler Federation Arkansas State High School Bass Fishing Championship May 7 on Lake Maumelle. The duo pulled in a total of five fish weighing 12.25 pounds.
The tournament was originally scheduled for the Arkansas River, but high water forced the tournament to be moved to Lake Maumelle.
Record-setting flooding in Arkansas has various parts of state underwater.
A total of 71 teams registered to fish the inaugural event.
Goates and Chessher advance to the SAF High School Fishing regional tournament this fall.
"This is awesome, we never thought we had a chance coming to this event and seeing all the teams that were here, so this is quite a surprise," Goates said.
"We found a bank that was holding a few fish, so we just wore it out all day and we caught nearly all our fish off that one bank," Chessher said. "We knew we had a nice bag but figured we would maybe get into the top 15 and possibly the top 10, but never did we dream that we would win. We would like to thank our boat captain, Rex Rose, our parents, along with the Scheides for getting our club started and organizing things for us."
The team was also a Certified Student Angler team, which means the members took the online SAF quiz on boating safety, angler ethics and invasive species.
By being the highest finishing Certified Angler team, the team won a set of inflatable life jackets supplied by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Finishing in second place was North Pulaski High School Falcons John Ball and Kendall Long. They had a five-fish limit that weighed 11.92 lbs.
The third-place team was from Bryant High School, Chase Melton and Greg Womack, with 11.65 pounds.
The Dover Youth Fishing Club, mentored by FLW Tour Pro Ray Scheide, brought 11 teams to compete.
White Hall High School brought 16 teams. Among other schools represented were Sheridan High School, Greenbrier High School, Episcopal Collegiate School, North Little Rock Charging Wildcats and Mayflower High School.
The state champions receive travel allowances to help offset expenses and use of a Ranger boat for the next event.
The winners from each regional will advance to the FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing National Championship held on a college campus in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship in spring 2012.
National champions will each receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at the university of their choice.
Each team that competed qualified to enter the 2011 High School Fishing World Finals in July in Russellville.