KUTTAWA – The first KHSAA-sanctioned bass fishing tournament season is under way, with the Region 1 tourney slated for Saturday at Kuttawa Harbor Marina.
The first two of four regional tourneys were held Sunday, establishing the first qualifiers for the inaugural state championship. The state tournament is scheduled for April 26-27 at Kenlake State Resort Park Marina in Aurora.
This weekend’s Region 1 and Region 4 events will be on Saturday.
The Region 1 pre-tournament meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. at the marina.
“We already have 30 boats registered,” said Walter Haney of FLW Outdoors, which is a partner with the KHSAA in conducting high school bass fishing events.
Registration remains open for the tournament through Thursday, Haney said.
The two tourneys already staged were “extremely successful,” Haney said, with 44 boats from 11 schools in the Region 2 tournament and another 44 boats from 12 schools in the Region 3 event.
Louisville St. Xavier won the Region 2 title at Taylorsville Lake, while Taylor County took the Region 3 championship at Lake Cumberland.
Thirteen boats qualified to advance to the state tournament from Region 2 and 14 from Region 3.
The excitement shown by St. X, an urban Catholic school, was a bit of a surprise, Haney admitted.
“Everybody was ecstatic,” he said. “It’s completely new to them and they are totally on board with it.”
Schools are permitted to have up to six boats with pairs of competitors, and St. X had a full complement, Haney said.
“I was thrilled,” he said.
The number of entries is only going to go up, Haney said, as some school systems, including the huge Jefferson County district, are biding their time before they get involved in the sport.
“I expect [the number of participants] to double” in coming years, Haney said.