(Article Courtesy of The Wayne Weekly)
On Saturday, March 5th, a couple of guys from the Wayne County Casting Cards high school fishing team scored big at the MLF at Lake Guntersville. It was the first time Elijah Adkins and Austin Criswell had ever fished there and what a successful day.
Lake Guntersville is Alabama's largest lake between Bridgeport and Guntersville containing 69,100 acres and it stretches seventy five miles from Nickajack Dam to Guntersville Dam. Adkins and Criswell won the competitions with 20.12 pounds of fish which qualifies them for the Nationals at PickWick Lake, Alabama in June.
In an interview Monday morning with The Wayne Weekly, Eli (Elijah)Adkins said, "We want to thank God for the opportunity to fish in such an amazing sport." Eli continued on, "I want to thank my family, friends and our coaches for all their support to make it possible for us to fish these events." Eli added, "It was a tough day on the water and we only caught six fish the whole day. Thankfully, they were the right ones, over twenty pounds for five fish giving us the opportunity to win."
In corresponding with Austin Criswell, he said, "First of all, I want to thank Christ for saving me. Thank God for allowing us to make it down there safe and allowing those fish to bite."
He too stated, "Overall, it was a tough day. We only had six bites all day, but they were the right ones." Without any practice time or even being on the water, it was a true miracle that this all happened."
Austin told of him and Eli (Elijah) using Google Earth to find a good starting spot (along with some good docks) which was where they needed to be.
He recapped part of their fishing experience at Lake Guntersville, speaking of Eli catching a four pounder on a Rapala dt6 in demon color. After that, Austin had their boat captain, Matt (Eli's dad) to tie him on a dt6 in red craw color.
He said, "I caught a three pounder on it almost immediately. We fished around that creek and came back to the bridge about thirty minutes later where Eli caught another three pounder, along with a short fish."
Austin added, "After that, we didn't have a bite for about three hours, so we left and went to some docks and we both picked up a Zman/Evergreen jackhammer in fire craw color. We fished the first couple of docks without a bite, then Eli caught a two and a half pounder. That's when we decided to finish the rest of the docks out in that flat. As it turned out, that was the best thing we could do. The next dock over, I hooked into our kicker fish that ended up going seven pounds and eight ounces." They were both nervous after that, because neither one of them had a bite the rest of the day.
"We were so thankful it was enough with us having twenty pounds and 12 ounces. The second place finishers ended up with nineteen pounds eight ounces." said Austin.
"It still hasn't set in yet, but we just couldn't be more thankful that God allowed it to happen. All glory to him."
Recently, all members of the Casting Cards participated in an interschool fishing tournament on Lake Cumberland. The Casting Cards (both girls and boys) will be competing this Saturday, March 12th in the Bass Nationals at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park.
The Kentucky SAF State Championship is coming up March 26th on Lake Cumberland. The Casting Cards will be among teams participating and will take to the water at Burnside. High school anglers participating there can also qualify to go to National tournaments.
The Casting Cards girls team captain Rick Kempton spoke to The Wayne Weekly of last year's Nationals. He told of over four million dollars in scholarship money being up for grabs with four hundred teams participating.
Kempton said lots of folks don't realize these high school teams fish eight hours a day when competing. They take part in the sport regardless of the weather, whether it's freezing cold on the outside or extremely hot with temperatures in the ninety to one hundred degree range.
Casting Cards Elijah Adkins and Austin Criswell at Lake Guntersville, Alabama's largest lake, with awards
Casting Cards Seniors
Wayne County Casting Cards team
Casting Cards Elijah Adkins and Austin Criswell with their biggest fish that they caught at Lake Guntersville in Alabama.
Austin and Eli receiving their awards at Guntersville Lake.