PARIS, Tenn.— It was a whole new ballgame on a completely different body of water for the top 30 teams competing for the coveted final 10 positions. But everyone had a chance to stake their claim on a top 10 spot heading into the final day.
The 27th place team after two days on Kentucky Lake took the gift and ran with it as Tyler Dunn and Matthew Shrewsbury caught two of the right fish today to pull them in the driver seat heading into the final day of the Bassmaster High School Championship.
Carroll County’s 1,000-acre recreational lake provided many challenges to the best high school teams in the nation who found it hard to come across 12-inch keeper bass.
Dunn and Shrewsbury, who are from North Carolina, only managed two of those elusive keeper bites, but they were the right size to bolster them to the top of the leaderboard with 8 pounds and 12 ounces. Now they head into Championship Saturday with a pound and a half advantage over Garrett Enders and Nick Osman of the Susquehanna Valley bass anglers.
“We started off as boat 27 and it was hard to pick a spot (because it was crowded),” said Tyler Dunn. “So we decided to go straight across the lake and start fishing close to a spot that we already have.”
Anglers were welcomed with different weather conditions than the prior two days on Kentucky Lake. Rain and heavy cloud cover loomed over Carroll County all day keeping the temperatures cool and the fish somewhat active.
“There was a road bed near our spot and we started to fish it,” said Dunn. “I casted out deep and as soon as the bait hit the bottom, the fish picked it up.”
Many teams caught over 40 fish today, but the keepers were hard to come by. When they caught a fish, another was lurking nearby and they had better opportunities to catch a second fish off of a spot.
“Less than 10 minutes later Matthew threw out there and caught our second and last keeper,” said Dunn.
According to Dunn and Shrewsbury, both of their fish came before 8 a.m.
The second place team of Enders and Osman are just one solid keeper behind the North Carolina anglers and they realize it will be a tough day, but they need to keep grinding all day.
“We aren’t far behind first place,” said Osman. “We just have to keep fishing hard and never give up.”
The early bite treated the second place team well as most of their fish came early in the day. They went through a patch mid-day where they didn’t catch them as well as earlier, but the late day bite made up for the drought. After four morning fish the Pennsylvania anglers boated number five near the end of the day to keep them at the top of the standings.
Three of the 30 teams caught limits today and it was a struggle to find substantial fish. The third place team of Matt Miller and Adrian Stafford landed four fish for 6 pounds and 8 ounces.
Like the rest of the field, the morning bite was a success for them, but once they hit the midday drought they would use their timeouts to settle down, receive a little coaching and refocus their minds.
The rest of the top 10 is relatively close together weight wise and one big bite will make a big difference. The fourth place team of Dillon King and Kody Kelly weighed a limit for 6 pounds and 6 ounces, while fifth place was based solely on one fish. Noah Pescetelli and Thomas Zaczek reeled in a 5 pound 15 ounce stud to keep them in contention.
Rashaad Goodson and Steven Younginer (South Carolina) are sitting in sixth, Blake Albertson and Evan Wheeler (Indiana) are right behind them in seventh and the Kentucky Lake leaders heading into today (Dailus Richardson and Trevor McKinney) are sitting in eighth.
Rounding out the top 10 are the teams of Alex Torkleson and William Valdez (Oklahoma) and Zeke Gossett and Hayden Bartee (Alabama). Gossett and Bartee brought the third and final limit to the stage.