Late yesterday morning we slipped our lines at Green Turtle Bay, headed through the Barkley Channel and then south on Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River. After a short 45 mile trip, we arrived at Paris Landing State Park Marina, saw a couple of Looper friends we had met upriver, had dinner at the modest marina restaurant, and headed to bed around “looper midnight“ (9:00 PM). We and others have found that due to early mornings, long hot days, and constant attention to navigation, we we are tired and ready to crash soon after sunset most days.
We heard on the dock that Paris Landing was hosting a fishing tournament over the weekend, but at 6:30 Friday morning were surprised to hear and see 187 boats and nearly 350 anglers! It was the first major event of the 2019-2020 season for the Association of Collegiate Anglers, the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Pro Shop Big Bass Bash, a national intercollegiate bass fishing tournament. Teams compete for prizes and the “school of the year” award.
We saw teams from Indiana University, Purdue University, and dozens of other colleges across the country. The competition began with a prayer and the national anthem, and each boat was announced as it passed the reviewing stand and then sped out across the water to hook that lunker.
We remembered that our friends Darin and Michelle’s son Beau is on the Purdue bass fishing team. A quick text confirmed that Beau was indeed at Paris Landing, competing with his team in the tournament. Unfortunately, we were not able to connect with him, but we heard from Michelle that after the first day he ranked number 7 out of 350 competitors, and she sent us a photo of one of his lunkers!
We learned that the best college bass fishermen can move on to the professional circuit. Just like basketball and football, but with fish!