Jemison Bass Anglers hook second-place finish at state tournament

Jemison Bass Anglers Lance Poe and Alex Kendrick show off their trophies after placing second in the ASABFA state tournament.

Jemison Bass Anglers Lance Poe and Alex Kendrick show off their trophies after placing second in the ASABFA state tournament.

The Jemison Bass Anglers may have been the underdogs in the state tournament, but that didn’t stop seniors Alex Kendrick and Lance Poe from hooking a second-place finish in the finals.

Kendrick and Poe made school history by placing in the state competition, though the duo said it felt like just another day on the lake.

The Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association State Tournament, held on Lewis Smith Lake May 16-17, included a total of 202 boats from 40 different schools.

Each school was allowed five boats, all consisting of two fishermen and a boat captain.

The boats launched from Smith Lake Dam around 5:30 a.m. the morning of May 16, dividing the sixteen total hours of fishing into eight-hour intervals on both May 16 and 17.

A five-fish limit weight of 29.05 put Kendrick and Poe just three pounds behind the winning duo from Curry High School at the end of the two-day tournament.

Poe and Kendrick had a five-fish limit weighing 29.05 for the tournament.

Poe and Kendrick had a five-fish limit weighing 29.05 for the tournament.

Although the second-place trophy is difficult to accomplish as a second-year team, both fishermen agreed that they were surprised they didn’t bring home first place.

“We were expecting to win it after the first day,” Poe said. “We were in the lead after the first weigh-in. The second day, we had a rain delay and got a late start. We didn’t get many bites after the rain.”

Spotted bass was the target fish for the tournament, and the Zara Spook lure was the most effective in catching them, according to Kendrick and Poe.

The fishermen shared the extensive strategies and patterns associated with competitive fishing.

“Sometimes people think fishing is just about luck,” Kendrick said. “It takes a lot more than that. There’s a skill to it. We’ve learned from our past experiences and we’ve gotten better.”

The state tournament was Jemison’s first experience fishing on Smith Lake, which is Curry High School’s home lake in Cullman.

“The best part was going to a lake we’ve never been to and finishing second,” Kendrick said. “I felt pretty accomplished doing that.”

The team’s big break came when they found a channel swing where the current hit, producing the perfect fishing spot in the heat.

“There’s always one little sweet spot,” Poe said.

Both Kendrick and Poe will attend Jefferson State Community College in the fall and are determined to continue their fishing careers.

“I’ve been fishing for as long as I can remember,” Poe said. “And we’ll fish tournaments forever.”