Level playing field

PANCOASTBURG, Ohio — When 14-year-old Logan Gin walked on stage in June it was with the help of crutches, but the young angler was ecstatic because it was the first time he weighed a bass during a Junior Bassmaster event.

"It was amazing," Gin said after the Deer Creek Lake tournament. "I've been trying so hard and practicing, but I've just been getting unlucky and catching short fish and other fish that weren't bass."

Gin suffers from diastophic dysplasia, a form of dwarfism that causes joint pain and difficulties walking, and has undergone many surgeries over the year. The latest were on his back in 2006 and legs in 2007.

However, Gin doesn't focus on any of that.

"He doesn't see himself as disabled," Todd Thompson, Ohio B.A.S.S. Federation Nation youth director, told BASS Times. "He's just one of those kids who puts a smile on your face."

Gin's father, Larry, said his son's techniques are somewhat limited because he is unable to stand for long periods.

"He has to sit the entire time he's fishing," Larry Gin said. "So he can't flip. He likes the faster-moving baits that he can use more easily when sitting down."

A shortened pedestal allows the young Gin, at just less than 3 feet tall, to sit down comfortably while fishing. And Gin said proper rod selection allows him to fish plastics.

"When I'm with someone who is flipping, I have a short spinning rod I use to Texas rig," he said. "I have to cast it [instead of flipping], but I can still fish a Texas rig."

Other than a short worm rod and a shortened seat pedestal, however, Gin looks at fishing as his opportunity to compete on a level playing field.

"It's not like I can be on a football team and win the championship, but I feel like I can catch a fish and place in a tournament," he said. "I'd like one day to be in the Junior Bassmaster Championship. That would be a dream."