Jim Coyte
State Team Advisor   

The Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks was this year’s site of the Missouri Junior Bassmasters Junior State Team Qualifying Tournament.  Saturday, September 22 dawned to a high barometer, crystal clear blue bird skies and warm temperatures as twenty-six members of Missouri’s Junior Bassmaster Clubs made their way to the launch ramp with their families and friends to compete in this year’s qualifier.  Much time had already been spent in preparation for the event.  Reels had been re-spooled, equipment had been checked and rechecked, lures modified and tuned, and hours had been spent pouring over maps and marking special spots.  They were ready and now it was time to go to the show.

  The early morning light was just breaking over the treetops as they assembled around the information vehicle to turn in their paperwork.  Pairings began with the introduction of each adult boater who then randomly drew the names of their anglers for the day.  After meeting parents and storing their gear, the anglers boarded their boats and quickly made their way to the ramp.  Within minutes, the boats were launched, last minute instructions and safety information was given and the tournament was under way… each boat heading off to a special spot to begin the competition.

With the day one weigh-in time fast approaching Missouri’s Youth Director, Jeff Farris, set up the site.  The scales were checked, weigh-in slips readied, the computer booted and all the other details that go along with running a tournament were put into place.  As the weigh-in proceeded, it became apparent that the Niangua had been difficult this day yielding just seven fish. At the end of Day One Tyler Bamesburger from Sportsmans Junior Club was in first place with a nice 4.29 lb. largemouth. Tyler Owen, also from Sportsmans, was in second with 2.69 lbs. Jacob Seek, from the Absolutely Bass Junior Club, held down the third position with 2.36 lbs. Shawn Kreisel (Absolutely Bass) and Andrew Murdock tied for fourth with 2.11 lbs. each followed by Cody Carl with 1.74 lbs. and Tony Edwards with 1.08lbs.         

Sunday morning, the weatherman was calling for strong storms, a falling barometer and increasing winds with sharply falling temperatures.  Anglers quickly hurried about their preparations and plans were made to deal with the weather if it became a problem.  As the boats launched, rain began to fall lightly and ominous clouds were building on the horizon.   We all thought about what we needed to do to make every minute count and wondered what the future would hold. 

  No one could have guessed that a scant forty-five minutes later, the light rain would stop and the lake would be bathed in sunlight with a beautiful rainbow dropping from the clouds...  however there now was a new chill in the air, a north wind was starting to pick up…  and the fishing was becoming even more difficult.

When this day’s weigh-in was complete, it was evident that the Niangua had again been reluctant to give up her secrets, allowing only one fish to come to the scales… a 2.12 lb. largemouth caught by Sportsmans’ Tucker Adams.   The Lake of the Ozarks can sometimes be like that, particularly in mid to late September when water temperatures can fall dramatically and wearing shorts & “T” shirt on a ninety-degree day can be followed by a day in the sixties.

Congratulations to the 2002 Missouri Junior Bassmaster State Members, Tyler Bamesburger, Tyler Owen, Jacob Seek, Tucker Adams, Shawn Kreisel, Andrew Murdock and Cody Carl (alternate). We would also like to thank our Sponsors… Ranger Boats, All Star Rods, Bass Assassin, Crème Lures, Easy Retrieve Lure Retrievers, Missouri Department of Conservation, Worden’s Lures (Timber Tigers, Poe’s & Rooster Tails), XPoint Hooks, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Doug Hannon Solar Calculators, David’s Seed, Classic Fishing Products and McKeever’s Price Choppers.  And a special thanks goes out to Jeff Farris, Missouri State Youth Director, and to all the adults who volunteered their time and equipment to make this event possible.

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