For most people fishing is a time to relax and enjoy the outdoors, but for two Logan High School students it's a competitive sport played out on a national level.
Since early ages, Brady McCoy and Jace Smith have had a passion for angling and over the past 4 years, the two have solidified their place as some of the best fishermen in the state for their age. Now have their sights set on their second national competition, vying for a title in the High School Bassmasters Championship.
"Having the opportunity to do this is amazing," said Smith.
"It takes a lot of perseverance to accomplish it but when you do, it's worth it," said McCoy.
Over the past four years, the two consistently ranked as one of the top teams in the state, making the trip to nationals just two years prior. That success has only driven their passions more.
"That made me think this is something I should consider getting more serious about," McCoy said.
McCoy's parents Al and Maureen are both active water skiers, but were never much into fishing. Brady first developed an interest when a soccer injury to his wrist limited what activities he could do out on the water. Later that grew to getting involved in the the River Road Junior Bassmasters Competition. The rest as he says was history.
"As I saw how it goes and saw other people compete and go through the same route that I'm going through, I figured this is the way I want to do this," McCoy said.
Teammate Jace Smith also began at an early age fishing for bluegills off of his dock. But the competitive nature of bass fishing captured his attention. The feelings of heading back to nationals are just beginning to sink in.
"It's... honestly, it's overwhelming," Smith said. "It's scary, [but] it's honestly all I've dreamed of."
Even though it's a title they're looking for, they say they'll be happy with the experience either way.
"No matter how well I do, it's still going to be fun to me," Smith said. "I'm still going to be happy with how we did."
McCoy and Smith both honed their skills right here in the Coulee Region. In addition to the techniques with rod, reel and choices of lure much of competition involves knowing each species of bass and being able to accurately estimate their patterns to find and catch the biggest fish.
Beginning this weekend, they will be preparing for their competition officially starting June 22 in Paris, Tennessee on Kentucky Lake.