Jake Cook, 18, of Kennewick , out-fished six junior division champs from around the country on Saturday to win the 2009 Junior Bassmaster World Championship at Florida’s Lake Yale East.
Cook caught five largemouth totaling 13 pounds 1 ounce, nearly double the poundage caught by his nearest competitor.
Cook, who fishes locally with the Tri-Cities River Runners, won tournaments in Washington state and the Western Region to qualify for the national event sponsored by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society.
The grand prize for the junior champ is anything but kid stuff: a $5,000 college scholarship plus a fully rigged Triton Bass Boat valued at $9,000.
“I did something different than anybody else,” Cook said, recounting his winning tactics. “I fished some deep water structure. We stuck it out there most of the day throwing crankbaits. We lost some baits but got down to where the fish were.”
Youngsters from Washington state have won the Junior Bassmasters competition three times – more than any other state – since the event debuted in 2003. Two of those wins were claimed by Joey Nania of Liberty Lake.