Shoals Youth Bassmasters fish Pickwick to end 2016 season

The Shoals Youth Bassmasters, located in northwest Alabama, ended the club’s 2016 tournament season with their event on Pickwick Lake. A very high number of youth club members participated in the tournament finale. Perhaps a festive picnic, fishing product prizes and other annual awards added to attraction of the tournament for the youth club members.

Organization director, Richard Laxson, said he was very pleased with the member attendance at tournaments which has been excellent all year. Laxson noted, “These kids show up tournament after tournament regardless of wind, rain or heat.”

Sixty club members, along with a boat captain for each, launched from Florence Harbor in Florence, AL at 6 AM and returned for the weigh-in at 11 PM. The three, club age divisions weigh

Shoals Youth Bassmaster youth anglers and boat captains return from a hot day of fishing. SFN photo

Shoals Youth Bassmaster youth anglers and boat captains return from a hot day of fishing. SFN photo

together but the contestant’s weight competes only with the other club members in their age group.

The young men and women stayed on the water until the last minute trying to catch a bass to help their five fish limit weight. Adults on-site, not to mention the boat captains, were impressed with the fortitude of the younger club members because of how they fished through the hot sunshine until weigh-in.

Several club members brought Pickwick largemouth and smallmouth to club weighmaster Ernie Darracott. Landon Chris brought a pretty three pound smallmouth to the scales. Landon said he caught the beauty on a swimbait in six to seven feet of water. Jay Kawalec was equally proud of his 1-10 largemouth. Clayton Birdyshaw showed off his 8-13 string with help from Jeremy Collier, Avery Collier and Clayton Birdyshaw.

Winners in each age division. SFN photo

Winners in each age division. SFN photo

Results of the competition by age divisions:

10 and Under
1st Place – Spencer Lovett 7 lbs. 10 oz.
2nd Place – Peyton Davidson 5 lbs.
3rd Place – Sean Willingham 4 lbs. 14 oz.
4th Place – Hayden Brewer 3 lbs. 7 oz.

11 to 15 Group
1st Place – Clayton Birdyshaw 8 lbs. 13 oz.
2nd Place – Storme Alexander 5 lbs.
3rd Place – Austin Hicks 3 lbs. 15 oz.
4th Place – Ethan Tedder 3 lbs. 8 oz.

16 to 18 Group
1st Place – Hayden Berry 2 lbs. 4 oz.
2nd Place – Hayden Bolton 2 lbs. 2 oz.
3rd Place – Ethan Hester 2 lbs.

Peyton Davidson 3 lbs. 4 oz. Largemouth

Angler of the Year
10 and Under Peyton Davidson
11 to 15 Clayton Birdyshaw
16 to 18 Ethan Hester

Alexis Adams was recognized for having the largest smallmouth of the year, a 5 lb. 6 oz. beauty. Walker Brown took biggest largemouth of the year honors for a 5 lb. 11 oz. lunker.

Hayden Bolton was recognized as a graduating youth club member and presented with a S&H Outdoors rod and reel. Hayden has fished with Shoals Youth for a number of years.


A good crowd of over a hundred people including moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and bass fishing fans attended the event. The crowd was treated to food and the club members were treated to (all the food they wanted) trophies, awards and free gifts. The smiles on the faces of the young anglers proved the efforts put forth in 2016 were worth it.

The Shoals Youth Bassmasters is the oldest, active Bassmaster Youth club in the country. The club also has the distinction of having the largest Bassmaster Youth club membership in the United States. Unique distinctions for the northwest Alabama organization.

Adults interested in information on getting a bass fishing youth involved in the 2017 Shoals Youth Bassmasters may email director Richard Laxson at: [email protected]

The photo album of the event may be viewed and/or downloaded at:

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