Columbia, Lancaster County - Bass fishing has no exact science for perfection. The anglers are more like artists and the two best high school bass fisherman in the world this year, well, they grew up perfecting their craft right here on the Susquehanna River.
Lake Pickwick, Alabama the scene. A bag of three fish is placed on the scale. As silent pause tantalizes the crowd and Elizabethtown High School graduate Anthony Cicero IV and senior Dakota Snyder.
"16 pounds 6 ounces Cicero and Snyder are your World Finals Champions," the announcer screams into the microphone.
Not an explosion of emotion, but a chest punch, hand slaps and smiles spread across the faces of Cicero and Snyder. You could tell this is a moment that they were waiting for.
Yes, the boys from Lancaster County invaded the southern waters and took down hometown favorites from Alabama and Georgia on their home turf. What a weekend it was as they claimed the 2019 High School World Finals
"Millions of emotions, going," said Cicero. "I didn't know what was going to happen."
"(I) thought we had something going," added Snyder. "And then the last day it just all came together, worked out pretty good."
Pretty good maybe an understatement, not only did Cicero and Snyder bring home the world title, they hooked the largest bass of the tournament at seven pounds seven ounces. And as the final weigh in took place, Cicero just coyly smiled. After all when he hooked the big one, he wasn't sure what it even was.
"Awe it was crazy, I didn't know if it was a bass or a carp. It was awesome," he said, as he hid a smile and his wide eyes behind his reflecting sunglasses. " Just a blur!"
No reason to get his vision checked, the duo knew exactly where to look to find the perfect spot to fish. Go with what they know and what they learned studying the flow of the Susquehanna.
As Snyder says, it just came natural. "Spot hop a lot, just keep moving and down here on the river, small mouth (bass) like to move a lot. So that kind of prepared us for it."
Cicero who grew up going to tournaments with his grandfather and dad, just focused on what he learned while fishing in the Lancaster County Hawg Hunters Juniors and the Capital City Bassmasters.
"We couldn't do what everybody else was doing down south , we had to go with what we do best and just go from there," is how he tells it.
The boys were prepared for the bite, but nervous for their result.
"My heart was pumping like crazy, my nerves were going," Cicero says.
"When they said we won, it was pretty cool," Snyder added with a smirk, as he gripped his custom built Barry Weaver Point Blank Rod still rigged with his chatter bait.
Snyder and Cicero were cool and easy like a perfect cast. But Anthony`s dad other hand, well let's just say, he was on a wild ride.
"I've pretty much have been crying since 8:15 Saturday morning on and off," says Anthony Cicero III. "So it was pretty wild!"
Could you blame him for being nervous, emotional, ecstatic and proud all wrapped up in one? I mean world titles are not like winning a game of checkers at the family reunion.
"It was beyond dreams, to win the world championship, it is unreal," according to dad as he stares out onto the river.
The same Susquehanna River, where Cicero and Snyder learned their abstract casts, studied the realism of jigs, and dotted the water with their own sense of impressionism.
Now they have their masterpiece, rare for artists at such a young age.
Masters of their craft claiming the 2019 World Championship of High School Bass Fishing.
For the boys two things are certain. They had an amazing experience down in Alabama, and they are grateful to everyone and every club who help them achieve this dream.