The tournament had a team format with the heaviest 5 between the pair being brought to the scales. The tournament consisted of two tough eight hour days with only the top 7 teams advancing to day 3 from the field of 76 teams, representing 18 states.
On day 1 the lake had dropped almost 2 feet over night. All strategies gained from practice days where lost. Sam and Brady brought in 3 fish for a weight of 7 lbs. 15 oz, which positioned them in 17th place going into day 2.
The second day started out with the water on the rise, up a foot by daybreak, and finishing up 2 feet by the end of the day. Despite tough conditions the team boated 4 keepers for a total weight of 10 lbs. 5 oz. making a 2 day total of 18 lbs. 4 oz. The boys held their breath as the final teams weighed in. They made the cut in the 7th place beating out a local team by a single ounce.
Day 3 all weights where zeroed, so it was now anyone’s tournament to win. Day 3 was consistent with the theme of tough fishing as the water dropped again over night back to the normal level. Day 3 brought more of the same, short fish. Sam estimated the pair had boated no less than 100 short fish over the three days of competition.
The camera boat was a new experience for the boys to deal with. The film crew captured some excellent footage of a good fish breaking off right at the boat. When the day was done Sam and Brady brought 3 good fish to the podium with a weight of 8 lbs. This was good enough to move them up one more place for a 6th place finish. The winning weight for the event was an impressive 1 day total of 16 lbs. 2 oz.
Their 6th place finish earned Sam and Brady each received a $100 Cabelas gift card, RCA portable DVD player, Revo reel, Berkley product package including discounts from Pure Fishing for the remainder of the year, and a plaque.
Sam Starr stated that this was one of the most awesome experiences he has had on the water. The event was truly world class. The people from Russellville, the TBF, and the FLW were gracious hosts and genuine ambassadors of youth sport fishing.
Brady and Sam would like to thank their parents for making it possible for them to attend this event, without their support they would not have been there. They would also like to thank Dan Davis of Little Rock, Ark. for spending his week showing them around the lake.