Madison County team wins Hartwell High School event

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Andrew Canulette

ANDERSON, S.C. — Logan Fisher and Will Hart spent hundreds of hours on Lake Hartwell during the past five-plus months of shutdowns and social distancing, and they proved the time spent was anything but a diversion.

Fisher and Hart, who live just across the state line in Danielsville, Ga., won the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series event at Lake Hartwell presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors on Sunday. Their three-bass limit of 10 pounds, 5 ounces was top in the 95-team field that made its way to Green Pond Landing for the event.

Fisher and Hart, both 15-year old sophomores at Madison County (Ga.) High School, won $1,025 for the Red Raiders’ bass fishing team with the victory. The Top 12 teams took home part of a $3,535 purse for their school squads.

Chase Hubbell and Brent May of Strawberry Crest High School in Dover, Fla., finished second with 9-11. The duo won the Big Bass Award, and a $100 prize for their high school team, with a 6-7.

This is the second year Fisher and Hart have competed together but the first time they’ve been on the water in a Bassmaster high school derby this season. The series had tournaments on Louisiana’s Toledo Bend on Jan. 26 and on Alabama’s Smith Lake on March 1 but has been on hiatus since then as COVID-19 restrictions prevented larger groups from gathering for events like the one Sunday on Lake Hartwell.

The teens said it was exhilarating to win — and on local water at that — after months of downtime.

“Fishing is just about all we’ve been able to do,” Fisher said. “This felt great.”

The teens, along with boat captain Chad Hart (Will’s dad), began their day at Hartwell Dam. After a 10-minute run and five minutes of pitching a blue fluke-type lure, a 3-pound spotted bass bit. Thirty minutes later, Logan added a 5-pound largemouth that had the anglers feeling good about their chances.

“But it died after that,” Will Hart said. “It was a struggle until about 2 o’clock when we finally caught our third.”

That bass, a spot in the 2-pound range, gave the Madison County team a limit, but they weren’t sure it was heavy enough to win the tournament.

“I thought we might be Top 10,” Fisher said, “But no way did I think we would win first place. That was a surprise.”

It also was a key into the first national championship tournament they’ll fish together. That event is scheduled for Oct. 22-24, and Hart knows from experience it’s a “tough” event. He competed in the championship last year, finishing 44th overall with previous partner Levi Seagraves.

“Hopefully this time, Will and I can win it,” Fisher said.

Sunday’s tournament, which was hosted by Visit Anderson, originally was scheduled to be held Aug. 8 on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. It was postponed and relocated, however, due to restrictions on crowd size at the time in that state.