RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Logan Thomas didn’t start fishing one year ago on Lake Dardanelle.
But in a very real way, the professional fishing career to which he aspires got its start here a year ago in the High School World Finals bass fishing tournament.
“Yeah,” said Thomas. “That’s probably the milestone.”
Thomas has been fishing “since I was in diapers,” but last year’s event fixed a childhood dream as an adult goal.
“I’m old enough now to know this is what I want to do,” the Gilbertsville resident said. “This is what I want to devote my time and energy to.”
Thomas and partner Chase Greer had an 11-pound, 12-ounce catch to finish in the top 25 percent of the World Finals last year.
The two, both rising seniors at MCHS, are back for another try this year.
Since last year’s World Finals, Thomas and his parents, Jeff and Nicole Thomas, worked to help establish the MCHS Bass Fishing Club and worked to have the Kentucky High School Athletic Association add bass fishing as an official sport.
Fishing joins the KHSAA roster of sports this year.
The World Finals tournament is conducted by The Bass Federation’s Student Angler Federation. It is open to high school anglers who have completed eighth grade and have not yet started college.
Entrants must have a minimum 2.0 grade point average and must be Student Angler Federation members.
Student teams supply their own boats and equipment and must have an adult boat captain.
Jeff Thomas is boat captain fo his son’s team.
The elder Thomas was a guide for fishermen on the waters of Lake Champlain on the New York-Vermont border.
Logan Thomas began his tournament fishing career at age 7, fishing for lake trout and salmon.
The past few days, Thomas has been re-acquainting himself with Lake Dardanelle in preparation for the World Finals.
“Overall, practice has been pretty good to us,” Thomas said. “It’s not Kentucky Lake, but it’s OK.”
Opening ceremonies and official registration were scheduled for this morning, with competition to begin on Thursday.
The field will be cut after the first two days and competition will continue Saturday and Sunday.
Grand prize for the winning pair of anglers is a four-year scholarship valued at $5,000 per year at Bethel College in McKenzie, Tenn., plus other prizes.
Thomas also fishes as a co-angler in the Walmart BFL Tour’s LBL and Music City divisions.
He presently ranks in the top 40, which would make him eligible for regional tournament play.
The LBL Division has a tournament scheduled for Saturday on Kentucky and Barkley lakes, in conflict with the third day of fishing in the World Finals.
“If I don’t make the top seven Friday,” Thomas said, “I’m gonna drive six hours to get back home” and fish in the local tourney.
The top seven teams qualify to move on to the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday.
Last year’s winners were Thomas Chambers and Brandon Koon, members of the Desert Bassbusters Club from Phoenix, Ariz.