By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
MONTICELLO—High winds and cold water temperature made fishing tough in the Region 3 tournament held at Conley Bottom Marina Sunday, but six fishermen from Laurel County battled through the conditions to qualify for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state tournament, which will be held April 26 and 27 at Kentucky Lake.
Both North Laurel and South Laurel had six boats in the tournament, but only one from North and two from South caught any fish. But all three will be contesting for a state title.
The North Laurel team of Conner McKinney and Dustin Chesnut caught only one fish, but it was good enough for a seventh place finish in the region at 3 pounds, 11 ounces. It was only four ounces away from being the largest bass caught in the region tournament.
“I caught it on a Spro Little John crankbait,” McKinney said. “We should of had more but two got away.” McKinney caught the lone fish early in the tournament.
Not only did the Jaguar duo have to contend with the conditions, but also with boat problems which caused them to miss two hours of fishing.
“We had a rough day,” Chesnut said. “We got water in our gas tank and had to troll back, empty our gas tank and refill it. That cost us about two hours.”
South Laurel’s Wade Ball and Wesley Baker finished in ninth place with a two-fish total of 3 pounds, five ounces. Their largest fish weight 1 pound, two ounces.
“I caught it on a spinnerbait,” Baker said. Ball also caught his fish using a spinnerbait.
Another team from South Laurel, Austin Turner and Lucas Powell, finished in 11th place to qualify for state. They caught one fish which weighed 2 pounds, 14 ounces.
“I used a swimbait that was chad colored,” Powell said. “We had one get off the boat, and I caught this one late in the afternoon.”
The top 14 boats qualified for state. The team of Daniel Lawson and Travis Hunt from Taylor County won the region with four fish that weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Second place went to Corbin’s Morgan Boggs and Tanner Jordan with a two-fish total of 5 pounds, 14 ounces. Kentucky is only the second state to recognize bass fishing as a high school sport.