ANDERSON, SC. (WTAJ) – Hunter Klotz and Gerry Brumbaugh, from Central High School, reeled in the 2021 High School Fishing National Championship over Fourth of July Weekend at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, S.C.
They outweighed the competition by 1-pound, 14-ounces.
“Going into the event, we were feeling good,” said Brumbaugh, a rising senior at Central. “I mean, I knew we were around fish, but it’s hard to tell because in practice, you don’t actually try to catch fish, you just try to find them. So, you never really know what’s going to happen when you go out there in the tournament.”
They have fished in other National Championships, and their mentalities have changed over the years.
“You kind of get the feeling like you’re fishing against these guys, but now, since we’ve gotten older, we’ve fished a lot, it’s like you’re fishing against the fish,” said Klotz, who just graduated. “You’re not fishing against everybody else. You just control what you can control.”
“But, as the tournament kept going on, I was like, ‘dang, we really got a shot at this thing,'” said Brumbaugh. “After the second day, we were two ounces behind after the second day. That’s when it really kicked in.”
The other teams that finished in the top ten were from Alabama, Arkansas, California, and Georgia, so the PA boys were outsiders. But, Brumbaugh said that is not necessarily a disadvantage.
“Fishing, sometimes, you get too locked in a pattern or whatever and you don’t have an open mind to expand on all the other water on the lake,” said Brumbaugh. “So, having that open mind going into a new lake can sometimes be to your advantage.”
Brumbaugh’s father, “Big Ger,” is their captain and weighs the fish as they come in.
Klotz just graduated from Central and is headed to Kent State in the fall to play baseball. An athlete his whole life, he said there is nothing like the feeling of winning on this level.
“To have that thrill of knowing you’re going to win when they stand there on the stage– I mean, I play a lot of baseball and play a lot of sports and I haven’t had anything come close to that feeling of winning the National Championship yet,” said Klotz.