LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
North Laurel’s Gabe Blair and Lane Williams took sixth place in the 2014 KHSAA Bass Fishing State Championships, held last Friday and Saturday on Kentucky Lake.
“It was awesome,” North Laurel coach Nathan Stewart said. “We were one fish away from cracking the top three. They had chances throughout the day just couldn’t get them (fish) on the boat. We were right where we needed to be.”
The North duo was in second place after day one, catching five fish that weighed 17 pounds, four ounces. But the weather conditions changed from Friday and Saturday, with the wind howling on Friday but died down to almost nothing on Saturday.
“On both days of practice the wind was blowing and we caught a lot of fish, as we did on Friday,” Stewart said. “On Saturday the wind died down and the fish were slapping at the bait instead of biting it. We knew we needed about 15 pounds on that second day to win. If the wind would have been blowing on that second day we might have had a chance. I’m very pleased and can’t wait until next year.”
On Saturday Blair and Williams caught four fish that weighed in at 10 pounds, three ounces for a two-day total of 27 pounds, seven ounces. Williams also caught the big bass of the tournament weighing five pounds, 15 ounces.
“Lane caught that fish in the first hour of the tournament,” Stewart said.
“There wasn’t a lot we could do on the second day,” Blair, a senior, said. “We did the best we could but there wasn’t a lot of wind. I’m pretty pleased with how we finished.” Blair hopes to fish in college, either at Eastern Kentucky University of Lindsey Wilson College.
North’s other duo, Casey Collett and Austin Williams, finished in 14th place. They had a rough start to the tournament, catching just one fish on day one that weight nine pounds, four ounces. But unlike North’s other team, Collett and Williams actually fared better once the wind died down, catching four fish on the second day for a total of 15 pounds.
“Casey and Austin didn’t want the wind,” Stewart said. “They didn’t do so well when the wind was blowing but came back to fish well on day two. Both of them are freshmen and will be back next year.”
South Laurel’s Brian Longworth and Ethan Baker finished in 24th place. Their two day total was seven pounds, two ounces. Wesley Baker and Wade Ball finished in 34th place catching two fish for a total of four pounds, nine ounces. Samuel and Matthew Woods came in tied for 44th.
Baker also was named the National Guard Best and Brightest Award.
The top five finishing schools were all from near Kentucky Lake. Muhlenberg County won with a two-day total of 33 poounds, six ounces.
“For us to come from that far away and have two boats finish in the Top 15 I’m pretty pleased,” Stewart said.