Courtesy photo Trenton Godby and Noah Bullock caught the second biggest bass of the tournament at 5 lbs 14 oz.

Courtesy photo

Trenton Godby and Noah Bullock caught the second biggest bass of the tournament at 5 lbs 14 oz.

Wrapping up its inaugural year, the Grayson County High School Bass Fishing team saw two boats make the stage at the Regional Tournament held at Lake Barkley this past weekend.

The team, which currently consists of 19 GCHS students, competes in one large tournament per year: the Regional tournament. GCHS Bass Fishing is in Region 1 and competed in this year's Regional Tournament at Lake Barkley, located at Kuttawa Harbor, this past Saturday, April 21 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In order to qualify for the Regional tournament, the GCHS Bass Fishing team competes in Grayson County-only tournaments, called the Twin Lakes Bass Series at Rough River and Nolin Lakes on Saturdays during the summer, Bass Fishing Coach Chad Johnston said.

Each school in the region is allowed six boats with two anglers and one adult boat captain (essentially, a coach on the water who operates combustion engines and provides tips and strategies to students) to participate in the Regional competition.

Johnston said the Regional tournament, operated by Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), was "set up phenomenally" but was very difficult fishing conditions because the fish were not biting as much that day.

Nevertheless, Johnston said, GCHS was fortunate enough to have two of its six participating boats get to take part in the weigh-in at the conclusion of the tournament, and one team had the second biggest bass of the entire tournament.

GCHS Senior Trenton Godby & Junior Noah Bullock (with Boat Captain Mark Godby) and Senior Ben McMillen & Junior Dustin Goostree (with Boat Captain James McMillen) both participated in the weigh-in. Godby and Bullock weighed a bass at 5 lbs 14 oz.

The GCHS team was one fish - a half-inch - away from qualifying for State competition. Boats are required to catch a 15-inch large mouth bass, a 15-inch small mouth bass, and a 12-inch spotted bass, and Bullock nearly accomplished this except for he had one 14.5-inch fish.

Other boats from the GCHS Bass Fishing team that competed in the Regional tournament were Juniors Brad Blanton & Mason Decker (with Boat Captain Johnny Decker), Sophomore Jacob Hart & Freshman Jacob Dennis (with Boat Captain Josh Dennis), Freshmen Stetson Higdon and Lane Pohlman (with Boat Captain Steve Higdon), and Sophomores Briley Berry and Mackenzie Willoughby (with Boat Captain Garrett Willoughby).

Johnston said the Grayson County anglers, all of whom use their own rods and reels, "had a blast" and did well despite having a disadvantage of being over two hours away from Lake Barkley.

The success has the team excited about next year, and six tournaments in the Twin Lakes Bass Series have already been scheduled for this summer.

According to Johnston, years ago, Grayson County schools were sent a survey about potential new sports they would like to offer, and one of the top results was bass fishing.

Then, a meeting was held early last school year about forming a program, and several students showed up to the initial meeting to express interest, Johnston said.

According to Johnston, the sport is special because it is inclusive and a participant can never age out of it.

"It gives kids an opportunity to participate in a sport that is a lifelong sport," Johnston said.

Johnston wished to recognize and thank the community for the support of the GCHS Bass Fishing team, especially Sherbert VanMeter and John Newton of Renegade Marine, both of whom have assisted the team a great deal.

He also wished to thank GCHS, the Grayson County Board of Education, and Superintendent Doug Robinson, as well as coaches of other sports with whom he shares athletes, all of whom, he said, have been very understanding and supportive of the program.

Johnston said the School Board pays for student insurance through The Bass Federation (TBF) at $25 per student. This insurance guarantees free entry into any FLW and TBF tournament, as well as covers boater insurance in TBF/FLW tournaments.

Additionally, Baseball Coach Danny Clark, who had scheduled a tournament in Hopkinsville at the same time as the Regional bass fishing tournament, was also accommodating, sharing two baseball players with Johnston's Bass Fishing team.

"I can't thank them enough," Johnston said.

A meeting will be held in May for students who are interested in participating in the Bass Fishing team.

The GCHS Bass Fishing team is also seeking sponsors for the 2018-2019 season. Individuals and businesses interested in sponsoring the team are encouraged to contact Johnston at GCHS.