PALATKA — Parker Stalvey and Jacob Deel of Clay High School in Florida won their second consecutive Florida B.A.S.S. Nation High School Championship with a decisive two-day total of 40 pounds on …
PALATKA — Parker Stalvey and Jacob Deel of Clay High School in Florida won their second consecutive Florida B.A.S.S. Nation High School Championship with a decisive two-day total of 40 pounds on the St. Johns River near the Palatka City Docks on June 11-12. In March, the fishing duo, both seniors at Clay High and fish partners since their freshman year with one World Title on their resume, won the 2022 Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Classic presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors in Alabama.
In Palatka, the duo snagged 10 fish in two days; largemouth bass, totaling 40 pounds with a biggest fish of 6.5 pounds.
“We were on the water from 6:30 a.m. to about 3 p.m.,” said Deel, 17, noting second place netted 38 pounds of fish for a close battle for the trophies. “We’ve been fishing there out whole lives, found some good holes and found some fish.”
Deel, who uses Lews and Shimano reels with Mudhole custom built rods and Bass Assassin lures.
“We determine what our setup is primarily by the temperature of the water we are fishing in,” said Deel. “The water temperature determines where the fish are and how we rig the rod.”
At the Palatka tournament, with more than 100 boats vying for the top prize, Deel got his first nibble within five minutes of throwing his bait, but did not catch the decisive fish; the 6.5 pounder, until about three hours later.
“There is no running total anywhere so we just fish and fish until the final horn and hope we have the biggest fish,” said Deel. “It’s kind of random and we both kind of assess where we are, where can move and what lures we should use. With all the boats out there, I think the space between boats is about a 100 feet, but the river is a big place.”
After day one of the tournament, June 11, Stalvey and Deel were in third place with a 21.64 total on five fish with a biggest at 5.76 pounds. In first and second were boats with 21.83 pounds and 21.77 pounds with the fourth and fifth place finishers landing fish of 7.90 pounds and 8.26 pounds. The Putnam County Bassmasters duo of Benjamin Clark and Barnett Clark had a 22.06 total, but were assessed a .25 pound penalty to keep the top four boats at just over 21 pounds for the day.
On day two, Deel and Stalvey hit for 18 pounds off five fish to jet to the top of the podium with the other three boats netting just a high of 16 pounds.
“On the second day, we knew were all top four, and we needed a good bag to win it,” said Deel. “Parker caught the 6.5 pounder on second day and then we caught a 4.5, 3.5 and another 3.5, so our average on the other fish was what won the title for us.”
Also on the Clay County HS Bassmasters team were Dawson Effinger and Camren Teuton, of Fleming Island High School, who were at 19.11 after day one.
“Just another Fleming Island vs. Clay rivalry,” said Deel. “Never beat us.”
Next, the duo go to Lake Hartwell in South Carolina to compete in the BASS Nation Nationals in August. The pair, for winning in Palatka, earned a ticket to the BASS Master Classic for the world title that they won last year with 16.4 pounds for a one day total.
“Fish up north not as big as down South,” said Deel. “It’s colder water.”