Kristopher “KJ” Queen and Tyler Black of the North Carolina Student Angler Federation finished strong to win the 2015 SAF High School Fishing National Championship on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.
Queen and Black, representing Bandys High School in their hometown of Catawba, N.C., topped a field of the 10 best High School Fishing teams in the two-day competition. They caught 17 pounds, 2 ounces on Saturday to make it to Sunday’s final round of five teams in second place.
Then today, the Tar Heel State’s best backed it up with 17-15 to surpass Oklahoma’s Trevor Yates and Jacob Keenom, the day-one leaders, by 4 pounds, 6 ounces with a two-day total of 35-01.
Queen and Black earned a $10,000 scholarship for their win and were elated at the come-from-behind victory.
“We worked so hard for it. To finally win is amazing,” says Black, a high school junior.
“It’s unbelievable,” adds Queen, a college freshman currently attending Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn., on a fishing scholarship. “This is an awesome feeling.”
Both days of competition, the pair keyed on windy points and docks in relatively clear water, fishing Senko-style soft baits in 4 to 8 feet of water.
“Anywhere the wind was pushing into a dock, we fished Texas-rigged creature baits,” Queen explains.
He notes that they took a “power-finesse” approach to eliminate unproductive docks.
“We fished fairly fast until we found a dock with fish on it, then worked it slow and methodical,” he says.