Young Payson Anglers Win Tourney


Kyle Randall (above) and Keaton Duran claimed the championship of a tournament sponsored by Jack Az on Apache Lake. Randall caught an 8-and-1/2-pound largemouth, which took second as the Big Fish of the tournament.

Kyle Randall (above) and Keaton Duran claimed the championship of a tournament sponsored by Jack Az on Apache Lake. Randall caught an 8-and-1/2-pound largemouth, which took second as the Big Fish of the tournament.

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Over the years Payson anglers have shown very well in state, regional and national bass fishing tournaments. There is a younger generation of high school- and college-age anglers that are continuing with that tradition and the fishing world of competitive bass angling is taking notice.

The same weekend that Derrick Daniels and Nate Accord earned a second place finish in a WON BASS event on Roosevelt Lake, Kyle Randall and Keaton Duran claimed the championship of a tournament sponsored by Jack Az on nearby Apache Lake.

These two 19-year-olds were fishing against many seasoned Arizona anglers and caught a five-fish limit of 21 pounds.

Kyle and Keaton practiced for a couple days prior to the event and recognized that most of the bass were in a prespawn stage with a few larger fish already in the spawning mode.

Both young men were student-athletes at Payson High School and recognized the value in practice, which is so important prior to any competition and they were able to figure out what those big bass would bite.

They spent the day throwing 4-inch Senkos in a green pumpkin color scheme. Their baits were rigged whacky style, which is placing the hook in the middle and allows for more of a fluttering action as the Senko slowly sinks to the bottom. Kyle and Keaton targeted main lake points and a few secondary points in 6 feet of water or less.

Kyle caught an 8-and-1/2-pound largemouth, which took second as the Big Fish of the tournament. Catching a fish of this size is often called the “kicker” and will put most bass fishing teams at the top of the leader board. There was a 9-and-1/2-pound behemoth caught which earned the honor of big fish. There is no doubt that Apache Lake is very healthy and the fish growth is phenomenal. It is only a few more miles on the Apache Trail, which is a right turn just after the bridge on Roosevelt Lake.

For their day’s work on the water, Kyle and Keaton took home a $2,100 paycheck, not bad for a couple of young college-age anglers against 40 of the best bass fishing teams in Arizona.

The next tournament they plan to fish will be at Alamo Lake on April 27 in their pursuit of Team Anglers of the Year.

This weekend take a friend fishing and enjoy God’s creation, the bass lakes of central Arizona.

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