BENTON – Two Marshall County High School students finished 26th out of a field of 106 contestants in the High School World Finals fishing tournament at Lake Dardanelle Sunday.
Logan Thomas of Gilbertsville and Chase Greer of Draffenville finished with a catch totaling 11 pounds, 12 ounces.
Both are 16 and will be juniors at MCHS this year.
“This is the biggest event both of us have ever fished in,” Thomas said. “It was a crazy opportunity. You can’t get much better.”
The water temperature was high, Thomas said, due to its shallow depths and a nuclear power plant located nearby.
The Marshal team got off to a rough start, Thomas said.
“The first day, we drove up to our primary spot and somebody was sitting on our fish, so we went scrambling,” he said. “We didn’t catch any fish that day.”
With a zero to show for Saturday’s efforts, the team, with Logan’s father, Jeff, as boat captain, changed tactics.
“We went up to the dam,” Thomas said, “where we had found few fish in practice.”
The bass were still there, and Thomas caught one weighing slightly more than four pounds.
“You can’t beat the experience,” he said. “We got to meet kids from all over. There was 23 states represented.”
Among the young fishermen was a team from Calloway County High School and another Kentucky entry from Meade County.
Thomas and Greer found a challenging situation on Lake Dardanelle.
“Out here [on Kentucky Lake], we’re fishing on 35 feet on the ledges,” Thomas said. At Dardanelle, he said, “I caught a 4-1/2 pounder on six inches of water. They’re on the bank there, and they’re deep here.”
Thomas is hoping that fishing will become an official varsity sport at MCHS. Right now, it is a club sport.
“Ever since we got back we’ve been having kids call us,” he said. “The phone has been ringing off the hook, with them wantng to get on the team.”
Thomas already has a varied fishing background, but this weekend was his first tournament experience somewhere other than Kentucky Lake.
He is a New Hampshire native whose family moved here when he was in seventh grade.
His great-grandmother, Marjorie Thomas, gets the credit for making Logan a fisherman, along with his father and grandfather.
“He’d call me up and say, ‘Gram, can we go fishing today?’” she said. “I had these little brooks I’d take him to. You could catch those trout – they’d jump right at the line.”
“We used to wear ‘em out,” he said.
“Between my father, her and my grandfather, that’s how I got into it,” he said. “Now I’m hooked.”