Cougar fishing to take part in Bassmaster Open

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Squad to take to Douglas for chance at national tourney

By Chris Cannon

JACKSBORO—The Campbell County High School fishing team is set to face it’s biggest challenge yet — Bassmaster.

At least five teams from the Campbell County squad will take part in the Bassmaster High School Open Presented by Carhartt on Douglas Lake this Friday and Saturday.

“It’s an awesome opportunity,” Campbell County head coach Gabe Keen said. “They give away like 10 different scholarships. Some of them are just $500 to $1,000 things, but there’s one, maybe two of them, that are $10,000 scholarships. There’s prize money that’s given away to the fishing club that wins it, and there’ll be some college coaches there. We’ll be on a lake that we’ve done good ones this year, fishing against a lot of other kids. Hopefully, we go up there and represent.”

The $10,000 scholarships will be $2,500 per year for four years to Campbellsville University.

The tournament will run from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

Weigh-ins can be attended by the public at 122 Boatdock Drive in Dandridge.

This tournament will rank as a big one for the Cougars, as they’ve already fished in two tournaments on Douglas Lake.

“Anytime you can get in a big tournament with lots of awards on a lake that you’ve fished before, it’s obviously better than going somewhere you’ve never been,” Keen said. “I think I have five boats for sure fishing it — at least 10 guys. I may have one other boat, and that will make it 12.”

Two of those fishermen will be Trevor St. John and Craig Wilson.

The duo won the Bass Pro Shops High School Classic on Douglas Lake last month, as they reeled in 16.65 pounds.

They’ll have much of the same chance on Friday and Saturday.

“The bite should be very similar,” Keen said. “They should be able to run a similar pattern as they did in that Classic. They have a little bit of a leg up on everybody else.”

Boats will more than likely be coming from all over the southeast to fish in the tournament, including high schoolers from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The opportunities for the winners only get bigger.

The top eight finishing teams or schools will earn a berth to the Second-annual Bassmaster High School Classic to be held in conjunction with the 2015 Bassmaster Classic in Greenville, S.C.

“That’s my goal — keep putting my team in the bigger tournaments and get more and more exposure for these kids,” Keen said. “The more people seeing [the] Campbell County High School fishing team in these tournaments with 100, 200 boats, college coaches running around and scholarships being given away, that’s what I want them in. We like fishing in club tournaments around Norris, but the ultimate goal is to get them out of here and on a college fishing team.”