Missouri Juniors Selected

For Ontario International Invitational

By

Jim Coyte
Youth Director
Sportsman's Junior Bassmasters
 

 

            Seven outstanding Junior Bassmasters will represent the State of Missouri at this year’s International Junior Bassmasters Invitational being held in Ontario, Canada, July 6 & 7, 2001.  The Tournament was the original brainchild of Donna Uppole, the Maryland B.A.S.S. Federation Youth Director in 1995 with the co-operation of Ohio B.A.S.S. Federation’s then Youth Director, Pete Matthews.  In 1996, the Brian V. Kerchall Memorial Fund came on board as the only permanent sponsor of the event.

             This year, 12 Federations will send junior teams to the invitational (Maryland, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Ontario, Michigan and Missouri) and it will be the first time ever that Missouri has fielded a team.  The Tournament will be held on Lake Couchiching, which lies at the northern end of Lake Simcoe about 1-½ hours north of Toronto.

             The Missouri Team is made up of Junior Bassmasters from the Sportsman’s Junior Bassmasters Club based in Lees Summit, MO and the Pleasant Hill Junior Bassmasters Club in Pleasant Hill, MO.  Both clubs are dedicated to teaching kids how to fish with a focus on conservation and protecting the outdoors.

             While in Ontario, the Missouri Team will present a proposal to the Invitational Coordinating Board requesting approval to host the Invitational here in Missouri on Table Rock Lake in 2003 or 2004.  In addition, they are currently seeking sponsors and contributors to help defray the costs of outfitting the team and sending them to Ontario this year.  If you are interested in helping, you can contact Jim Noah, MOBASS State Conservation/Natural Resource Director & Sponsorship Director at JimNoah@compuserve.com , Jeff Farris, State Youth Director at wjfarris@earthlink.net or Jim Coyte, State Communications/PR Director at jimcoyte@gvi.net.   

 Meet This Year's Team

Jeff Needles is a 12-year old member of the Sportsmans Junior Bassmasters Club and attends Bernard Campbell Jr. High School.  Jeff’s home lake is Lake Lotawana where he lives and fishes regularly.  He is excited about making the Missouri State Junior Team and traveling to Ontario, indicating that this will be his first time to go to Canada. 

Jeff likes to sight fish in the spring but has been known to wear out a Warden’s Timber Tiger or two.  Eventually, he would like to become an attorney and if he pursues his law studies the way he studies the details of fishing, I’ll bet he will make a good one.  His favorite Pro is Jimmy Huston and the biggest fish he has ever caught was an 18 lb. catfish. 

Micah Klausen is a sophomore at Pleasant Hill High School where his skills in shop helped him build a mantle clock that took him to the finals in statewide shop competition.  He looks forward to putting his talents to good use as he pursues a career in architecture.  Micah’s favorite activities include hunting, building models, running go-carts and fishing with his dad. 

His biggest fish are a 4-pound bass and a 5-pound catfish.  Micah serves as club president for the Pleasant Hill Junior Bassmasters.  He hopes to join the adult club next year when he turns sixteen… but not until he competes in the International Invitational in July. 

Austin Goldberg is a 14-year old member of the Sportsmans Junior Bassmasters Club and attends Lee’s Summit North High School.  Austin’s home is at Lake Lotawana, Missouri where he lives with his brother Kyle and fishes regularly when not umpiring baseball games.  He is honored and proud to be selected to the Missouri State Junior Team and has worked very hard to become one of the best in his club…  winning their most recent competition with a five-fish limit. 

Austin’s favorite time of year to fish is the fall when he ties on a Rapala fire-tiger crankbait and spends hours on the water.  Becoming a pro is one of his dreams with Kevin Vandam high on his list of people to emulate. Recently, I had the pleasure of fishing with Austin and believe me, he’ll give you a run for your money.

Tyler Owen is a15-year old member of the Sportsmans Junior Bassmasters Club and attends Lee’s Summit North High School were he is a freshman.  Tyler also makes his home at Lake Lotawana where he has been fishing since he was three.  When asked what he thought about making the State Junior Team and traveling to Ontario, he thought it would be “really cool!”   

Tyler also likes to sight fish in the spring and thanks to his grandfather is an accomplished fly fisherman too.  He recently placed second in a junior club tournament with a five fish limit and insiders say he was crankbaiting.  Tyler has his sights set on exploring the professional bass fishing ranks and has the full support of his family.    His favorite Pro is Bill Dance and his biggest fish was a 7 lb. 5 oz. bass but he won’t tell us where or what he caught it on. 

 

Greg Nicks is a 14-year old, eighth grader from Pleasant Hill Middle School.  He lists his hobbies as fishing and hunting …and already bagged a buck on the FIRST weekend of the season.  Greg would like to make fishing his livelihood and indicates that Physical Education is his favorite class.

Greg has fished tournaments with his grandfather and over his fishing “career” has caught some rather impressive fish… an 8-pound largemouth bass, a 32-pound blue catfish, a 62-pound spoonbill and has a 7-1/2 pound walleye which is mounted on the living room wall.

Greg is another past qualifier for the Casting Kids State Finals and is currently is president elect for the Pleasant Hill Junior Bassmaster Club.

Kyle Goldberg is a 12-year old member of the Sportsmans Junior Bassmasters Club and also attends Bernard Campbell Jr. High School.  Kyle also hails from Lake Lotawana, Missouri and competes with his brother Austin regularly.  Kyle is a skilled fisherman who understands the importance of practice and good mechanics. 

Kyle has been fishing since he was very young and is already looking forward to competing in this year’s Casting Kids competitions as well as the Invitational.  He likes spring fishing the best but is competitive all year round and knows what he’s doing.  His favorite lure is a Frenzy fire-tiger lipless crankbait by Berkley and his favorite Pro is a fellow Missourian, Chad Brauer.  Remember his name… you’ll be seeing it again as he continues to move up through the ranks in this sport.

Trevor Hawkins is a 14-year old freshman at Lees Summit High School and also a member of Sportsmans Junior Bassmasters Club.  Trevor also lives in Lake Lotawana, Missouri and fishes it regularly.  As this year’s State Team Alternate, Trevor will accompany the team to Ontario and be ready to step in at any time should a team member become sick or unable to compete. 

Trevor’s favorite Pro is Denny Brauer and his favorite way to fish is cranking a spinnerbait in the shallows.  He particularly like fishing in the late spring and lists a 15+ pound Channel Cat and a 3.76-pound Bass among his big fish.  Trevor likes also cars and skateboarding and would like to pursue a career in fishing or landscape architecture in the future. 

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