The Lenoir City High School Bass Club was busy over the weekend as teams up split to fish in two East Tennessee tournaments.
Dalton Bailey and Hayden Stockett had the strongest day on the water Saturday, finishing second with a 13.32-pound bag in the Bass Pro Shops High School Series on Cherokee Lake.
"It was a big deal," Stockett said. "We wanted to get first, but the other guys just kept getting more pounds. Second is still good."
Saturday was the first time Stockett fished on Cherokee Lake, but he and Bailey were able to find success early in the morning.
"We went practice fishing for about three days," Stockett said. "We found this one place with slate rock and it was pretty good. We were sitting in about 12 feet of water and the bank was 4 feet. We fished in this spot called Macedonia and it's a cove. The conditions at the tournament were great and we caught most of our fish from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m."
Bailey and Stockett are in second place in the Bass Pro Shop Series and will have a chance to qualify for the national championship this summer.
"They had to make a decision because there were a lot of tournaments for the Southeast Region that day," Allen Woods, LCHS head fishing coach, said. "They've been coming along well here in the season and it's all for a shot at the national championship there on Kentucky Lake this summer."
Logan Johnson and Brent Key finished sixth and the team of Jodie Brown and Daniel Ridenour placed 13th on Cherokee.
The duo of Zane O'Domirok and Thomas Brown placed third in the Southeast Region tournament on Watts Bar Lake with a bag of 13.24 pounds. Zack Spears and Shelby Lampkin placed ninth.
"We had seven teams' fish it and five of the seven brought fish to weigh in," Woods said. "They kind of showed out the way I knew they could. Right now in the Southeast Region, we have three teams in the top 20 in points. If they can finish pretty strong in the Southeast, they might have a spot in nationals also."
The regular season will close soon and Woods believes his team is prime position to win another state championship.
"We're pushing toward the final hoorah," Woods said. "Bass Pro Shops is having their end-of-the-year tournament. With the state trail, we've got one more on Kentucky Lake and then the state championship will be down on Douglas Lake on the first weekend of May. We'll crown our state champions, hopefully, once again. We had three teams on Cherokee Lake and seven on Watts Bar, so you talk about how these kids have grown. You're talking about two totally different bodies of water."
The club will fish in tournaments the next six weekends before the Tennessee BASS Nation High School State Championship on May 3.
"What I encourage them to do is if they have a free weekend, which is few and far between now, to go out and practice," Woods said. "They have to pick and choose the days they can practice. What we've done is for the state trail, we're talking about being in Camden, which is a pretty good drive. They'll get to practice the Friday before and we're looking at the Thursday before the state championship."