The Tennessee Bass Federation hosted the 2023 Tennessee-Kentucky District 3 Semi Final on beautiful Pickwick Lake in Hardin County on October 20-22.  A total of 61 boaters and 61 co anglers arrived with hope of catching enough fish to win a trip the National Championship in the spring of 2024.

High skies and windy conditions greeted the Anglers on day one.  Unfortunately fishing conditions did not cooperate as 31 boaters and 34 co anglers failed to boat a keeper bass.  However as usual, someone always finds fish.  David Rogers of Tennessee was the first boater weighed in and he brought a 5 fish limit weighing 15 lbs 8 ozs to the scales which held up for the day lead.  David also has the big bass, a smallie weighing 4lbs 10 ozs.  Only one other boater weighed a limit on day 1 as Jeremy Henry of Tennessee has a nice limit weighing 13 lbs 5 ozs.  On the co angler side, John Huntley of Tennessee managed to catch 3 bass weighing 8 lb 12 ozs.  Kentucky anglers on day 1 were lead by Chris Abbatello with 8 lbs 9 ozs while co angler Chase Fleenor bass weighed in 6 lb 1 oz. The top twelve weights on Saturday for the boaters ranged from 15 lbs 8 ozs down to 4 lbs 12 ozs.  On the co angler side, top man had 8 lbs 12 ozs down to 3 lbs 10 ozs for 12th place.  Big bass on day 1 on the boater side went to David Rogers with a nice 4 lb 10 oz Smallmouth.  Chase Preatt, co angler of Kentucky caught the big bass on day 1 with a real nice 6 lb 11 oz largemouth.

Everyone left for the night with hopes of having a better day on Sunday because no one felt they were out of the running. On Sunday morning, the anglers were greeted with high skies and a slight wind but the fish again failed to cooperate.  While the wind laid on day 2, the fish again seemed to have a case of ‘LOCKJAW”.  While day 1 only produced 2 limits over 10 lbs, day 2 was a little better as 3 bags weighing over 10 lbs.  Brandon Staten found the “mother lode” as he brought 5 fish to the scales weighing 21 lbs, which vaulted him into the tournament lead with a 2 day total of 29 lbs 11 ozs.  Hanging on for second place and leading the Tennessee team was David Rogers who weighed in 9 lb 14 oz to finished with 25 lb 6 ozs.  Jeremy Henry of Tennessee weighed a total of 19 lb 7 ozs to join David Rogers as boaters to the National Championship from Tennessee.  Co anglers from Tennessee will be John Huntley and Brett Mchaney.  Brandon Staten # 1 overall and Chase Preat of Kentucky will represent Kentucky at the National.  A big shout out to Bill Buckner of Kentucky, while he zeroed on day 1 he found that mother lode on day 2 and was the comeback angler of the tournament.  His day 2 weight was 5 weighing 17 lb 2 ozs.  Day 2 big bass was caught by Michael Carter of Kentucky, a largemouth weighing 6 lb 5 ozs.  Second big bass was a largemouth weighing 6 lb 2 ozs caught by Jeremy Henry of Tennessee.

All in all, it was a successful tournament, however, the big smallmouth Pickwick Lake is noted for never showed up.  There was only 1 smallmouth over 5 lbs caught by Bill Buckner of Kentucky.

Many thanks go to Beth Pippin and the Hardin County Tourism for their hospitality during the week.  I urge everyone if they are looking to take a trip to catch some great smallmouth to consider Pickwick Lake in Hardin County.  Also, thanks to all sponsors of The Bass Federation for their sponsorship.