GILBERTSVILLE – Forty-six high school teams will compete in the second annual KHSAA Bass Fishing State Championship Friday and Saturday at Kentucky Dam Marina.
The qualifiers advanced from four regional tournaments April 5-6. Regions 1, 2 and 3 sent 14 two-person teams, while four teams qualified from Region 4.
Region 1 champions Douglas Colson and Zach Colbert of Trigg County led all competitors in regional competition, catching five fish at a total weight of 20 pounds, 11 ounces at Lake Barkley.
Their winning weight was a mere one ounce more than the runner-up team of Cameron Brooks and Chase Geary of Muhlenberg County.
Marshall County entries include Peyton Porter and Shane Barrett, fifth in the region tourney with five fish weighing 17-11; Adam Fitch and Bailey Napier, seventh with a 16-13 catch; and Austin Wade and Barrett Washburn, eighth at 14-5.
“I am certainly proud to have three out of our six Marshall County regional tournament teams competing in the second KHSAA State Tournament this week,” Marshals coach Luke Anderson said.
Calloway County won last year’s inaugural state championship, with the duo of Bracken Robinson and Dillon Starks taking honors in the tournament out of Kenlake Marina.
“Last year’s tourney was an over-the-top experience for the Lakers with two seniors winning state,” coach Jo Robertson said. “Losing those two state champions along with eight other seniors has put the Laker program into a rebuilding phase this year. Then add to that the poor weather conditions early in the season, which caused us to have some tournament cancellations.”
Calloway also qualified three teams for this weekend’s tournament.
Anderson remarked on the effect of rising temperatures on anglers’ prospects.
“Fishing has gotten a little tougher recently as warmer temperatures have bass on the move and difficult to locate, but nonetheless, there will be a lot of bass caught,” Anderson said. “I predict weights to be down a little from last year, but these kids will be fishing Kentucky Lake, one of the best fisheries in the country.”
Robertson agreed that Kentucky Lake is the best site for the state championship.
“We live in the premier part of the state for a KHSAA sponsored event,” she said. “There is a great deal of support from Murray State University, FLW and the lakes communities. Many pros from the FLW and BASS circuits call Kentucky Lake home.
“These are all positive factors which are great indicators that this is an excellent place for high school bass anglers from across the state to represent their schools in the KHSAA Bass Fishing Tournament.”
According to the KHSAA, 185 teams competed in the regionals, an increase of 76 percent over last year’s first season for bass fishing as a KHSAA-sanctioned sport-activity.
“Western Kentucky schools, especially those east of Bowling Green, have seemed to have the most interest in organizing fishing teams,” Anderson said. “Our close proximity to the sister lakes here is such a tremendous advantage, but there is interest statewide, and I expect to see even more participating schools in the next few years.”