FALLON CLEPPER is no stranger to readers here at Texas Fish & Game.
She has written articles for us about high school bass fishing and her favorite fishing strategies.
And recently the teen from the Montgomery Fishing Team at Lake Creek High School in Montgomery, Texas made a big splash on the national scene.
She and her partner Wyatt Ford beat out 235 other boats at Alabama’s Pickwick Lake last spring, catching 39 pounds-nine ounces to win the High School Fishing National Championship and earn the 17-year-olds four year college offers totaling $180,000 and other prizes.
Oh, and Fallon made history.
She’s the first female to win the national title in a high school tournament
“Winning the national championship was amazing. But that wasn’t the best part of the entire trip, just having a little girl look up to me and just be like, ‘I want to be her one day,” Clepper said in a story in the The Washington Post.
Yes, The Washington Post.
Clepper and Ford have had a whirlwind of a time since the big win and have made mainstream national media.
Clepper and Ford were not the only big winners from Texas last year.
Mark Cerja Jr. and Gus Richardson of the Lone Star Junior Bassmasters won the Bassmaster Junior National Championship at the Carroll County Recreational Lake in Huntington, TX.
A Day 1 limit of 10-7 put Cerja and Richardson in second place. Catching another limit of 7-14 in the final round, they claimed the top award — a $2,000 scholarship they’ll split according to an article written by David Brown at Bassmaster.com.
“I’ve been fishing since I was 2, and I was taught to fish hard and grind and never give up,” Cerja said.
According to Bassmaster, Lone Star Jr Bassmasters is a group of youth ages 7-18 who get together 10 times per year to fish competitive bass tournaments. The objective of the club is to provide this opportunity to as many youth as possible.
Austin Yeager of the Splendora High School Bass Fishing Team was the overall winner of the 2022 St. Croix and Texas
Fish & Game Conservation Challenge.
Yeager took part in several of the seven total challenges and extended his conservation efforts to not only bass fishing, but catch-and-release of alligator garfish.
“He’s obviously passionate about fishing and fisheries conservation and took to his own to inspire others to get some skin in the game on conservation. He’s a very deserving winner of the grand prize which is a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of St. Croix,” said Texas Fish & Game Editor-In-Chief Chester Moore.
St. Croix and Texas Fish & Game in January 2022 collaborated on behalf of youth and incentivized conservation activism among Texas high school bass fishing competitors.
“We believe this tech-savvy generation can do great things for fisheries and conservation. We have partnered with Texas Fish & Game to create the Texas High School Bass Conservation Challenge, which will be a fun way for students to promote conservation as well as win some great prizes.” said Jesse Simpkins, Vice President of Marketing at St. Croix.
St. Croix and Texas Fish & Game sent seven different challenges to high school bass team sponsors throughout the state during the spring semester.
Individual challenge winners got their choice of a Bass X rod from St. Croix.
In February, St. Croix and Texas Fish & Game began a program to get high school bass anglers to sign a pledge to conserve fisheries’ resources and fish in an ethical manner.
TF&G is working directly with high school bass fishing sponsors to promote the pledge and help spread conservation and angling ethics through this St. Croix-sponsored program.
Gavin Cooper and Justin James of the LCM Bass team did something very special that inspired us here at TFG. They went to the city council of Orange and got permission to put fishing line disposal receptacles at public boat ramps.
The problem of people throwing line in the water is a boating hazard as line can get caught in props and cause issues and is also a pollution concern. They took it upon themselves to make this happen and make a difference for fishing and fishermen.
The LCM bass team has racked up many accomplishments over the last few years, including multiple School of the Year honors by the Southeast Texas High School Bass Fishing Association.
We would like to send out news releases on tournaments and other issues related to high school bass fishing via our Fish & Game report e-newsletter. You can help us by sending stories and photos to [email protected]
We have committed to covering high school and collegiate bass fishing since both of their inceptions and will continue to do so.
We believe there is great potential to use this as a platform to create generations of anglers who not only understand how to fish but how to use fishing as a positive for fisheries and their lives.
—story by TFG STAFF