May 12—Carson Fitzgerald and Blake McBrayer from Whitesville Trinity were three ounces away from winning the KHSAA Region 1 Bass Fishing Tournament two weeks ago at Lake Barkley.
"We quit out there 45 minutes early to get back in time," said BJ Fitzgerald, the coach and boat driver for this Trinity team.
The Trinity team will be competing in the KHSAA State Bass Fishing Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Kentucky Lake. They were down there earlier this week in practice sessions for the state tournament.
"We fish from the Dam to the Highway 79 bridge which is in Paris, Tenn.," BJ Fitzgerald said. "We're practicing from the Dam to the 79 bridge Wednesday and Thursday."
Trinity caught five bass weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces. Fitzgerald was first in the big bass competition with 4 pounds, 3 ounces.
"It was a surprise," Carson said. "We knew we had a big bag of fish, but we didn't know if we had enough weight."
Carson, a freshman, has been fishing in tournaments with his dad since he was 4 years old. BJ knows Kentucky Lake well, and they were exploring for open fishing areas during their practice runs.
"With 90 boats in the state tournament, we're trying to get away from the crowd," BJ said. "I'm really familiar with Kentucky Lake, been fishing there for 20 years. We're out here trying to explore new water."
"It's been fairly decent, we've caught a few fish here and there," Carson said Tuesday. "We haven't found any big ones. Practice for regional was tough, but we fish a lot of these tournaments, if we have a tough practice, we usually fish how we want during the tournament."
In the regional Trinity was able to find bass in shallow water as they were trying to spawn. This week the fishing will be a little different.
"We will transition from fishing shallow to deep and back to shallow," Carson said. "We love fishing tournaments, love the competition. You go out there, either catch them or don't, if you get five keepers you feel good about yourself."
Fitzgerald and McBrayer, a senior, have fished together on weekends for about three years. They think there is a chance for them to finish well in the state tournament as well.
"It's beautiful out here today," McBrayer said of the conditions on Kentucky Lake. "Here and there I've fished for a few years, I didn't start tournament fishing till I was 12-13 probably. I love the competition too, just coming back and comparing what have to others."
"I think we have a good chance, if it gets tough we can grind it out and catch at least some. I've been wanting to be able to fish for the school for a long time."
This is the first year Trinity has had a bass fishing team.
"We got eight anglers and four boat captains," BJ said. "We did really good, we won a tournament as a team, and we had several second and third places as a team."
Dade Vincent and Brock Vincent from Muhlenberg County were sixth in the regional and will advance to the state tournament. Hayden Jones and Steve Ashley will advance to the state tourney from Muhlenberg County, along with teammates Isaish Smith and Nicholas Jones. Ohio County's Ty Young and Jarred Rininger will also fish at the state tournament.