RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – After a strong start, Marshall County’s Logan Thomas and Colton Story had an off-day in the third round and ended up in the consolation tournament of the High School World Finals fishing tournament on Lake Dardanelle.
It was the third trip to the tournament for Thomas, of Gilbertsville, who graduated in May. Story, of Calvert City, will be a sophomore at MCHS this fall.
“[Friday] was one of those days when everything goes wrong,” Thomas said. He and Story failed to boat several big fish that would’ve turned the day around.
“We had a 20-pound stringer every day until then,” Thomas said. “We ended up 10 pounds, 5 ounces. Every single day we had a five-plus pounder in our boat except today.”
Mark Gintert, nation youth director for The Bass Federation, explained that the new format this year was designed to prevent local fishermen from dominating the event.
“We wanted to equalize the playing field for those not from this area who didn’t have the opportunity to practice fish the lake,” Gintert said.
Dardenelle offers a diverse fishery, Gintert said, and varying conditions.
“Sometimes there’s a current, and sometimes there’s not,” he said.
Conditions changed on the third day, he said.
“It became a strategy of managing your fish,” Gintert said.
The format proved to be the undoing for Thomas and Story.
“Slip up one day, and you’re done,” Thomas said. “You had teams that didn’t catch any fish the first day that made the championship round because they zeroed our weights. If they went on cumulative weight we’d be right up there with the best of ‘em.”
Thomas and Story fished on Saturday in a multi-species consolation event, in which the two high school anglers and their boat captains went out to fish for one of any species of fish.
“We wanted that to be a low-key, fun event,” Gintert said.
Thomas and Story won the event on a tie-breaker with another team. Both teams caught six fish, and a 3-pound, 7-ounce bass boated by Thomas and Story decided the event.
“Overall, it was outstanding. A great week,” Thomas said. “We put ourselves in position to advance to the championship and that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to be happy that you put yourself in a position to do it.”
Trevor Jeffers and Hunter Bragg of Barnwell, S.C., won the tournament.
Thomas and Story were 19th with five fish weighing 13-1 after Wednesday’s first day of competition and climbed to 13th on Thursday with a second-day catch of 12-3 for a two-day total of 25-4.
James Gibbs and Drew Mayer of Marshall County High School also competed, finishing 55th of 74 teams listed in Friday’s consolation round. They were 54th out of 133 teams with a 9-7 catch on Wednesday.
Other Kentucky anglers included Dalton Cooksey and Reid Finley of Calloway County and Dailus Richardson and Trevor McKinney of Kentucky Student Angler Federation.