Kauffman and Carey crack 12-2 on Day 1 at Hartwell - Major League Fishing
Kauffman and Carey crack 12-2 on Day 1 at Hartwell
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Kauffman and Carey crack 12-2 on Day 1 at Hartwell

Image for Kauffman and Carey crack 12-2 on Day 1 at Hartwell
Josh Kauffman and Trent Carey took the early lead at Hartwell.
June 19, 2024 • Jody White • High School Fishing

ANDERSON, S.C. — Day 1 of the Abu Garcia High School Fishing National Championship went off without a hitch despite typically sweltering conditions. Between the National Championship and World Finals competitors, 398 teams weighed fish, and the top seven teams all caught more than 10 pounds on Day 1. With the early lead, Josh Kauffman and Trent Carey sacked up 12-2 for their three-bass limit, which gives them an edge of more than a pound over second place. In second, Saylor Urban and Jackson Munns of the Osceola Anglers and Bryson Dover and Angel Cornejo of Lanier Highschool are tied for second with 11-1.

Weighing one spotted bass and two largemouth, Kauffman and Carey did their damage offshore, running typical summertime Hartwell patterns.

“Today pretty much went as good as we could have asked for,” Kauffman said. “The first couple spots we hit, the fish were kind of dug down in, they weren’t really coming up to our baits. We made a little adjustment, ran some new areas, caught that 4-11 spot, and 20 minutes later we ran across a fresh school on a hump.”

“They were chasing bait actively; it was the right timing when we hit them,” Carey said. “We caught a 3-13 and a 3-6, both largemouth, back-to-back.”

Though both Kauffman and Carey hail from Pennsylvania, where they essentially formed their own club to be able to fish together in high school, they have some expertise on Hartwell.

“We actually have a pretty good history here on Hartwell. We came down here a few years ago, freshman year of high school, and we ended up placing 13th in the World Finals,” Kauffman said. “Ever since then, we fell in love with the place, and we’ve been down every summer to fish more and more.”

Both recently graduated, Carey is headed to Lander University in the fall and Kauffman is hoping to get started fishing Toyota Series and BFL events. For now though, the next two days will be key.

“We stopped fishing around 10 a.m. We had that weight and we knew we’d be good for the day,” Carey said. “We didn’t really want to burn our stuff. We’ve got probably 175 waypoints out here. We only hit about 30 this morning to get our weight, so I think we’ve got a lot of stuff we can run to replicate our weight.”

If they can pull it off, and they’re off to a good start, it would be a huge achievement.

“It would mean everything – no words can describe it,” Kauffman said.  “It’s the dream, it’s the chase, the thought of winning this is literally everything.”