TROY freshman earns berth in National Championship fishing tournament

TROY freshman angler Avery Padgett was the lone Trojan to qualify for the national championship. (submitted)

TROY freshman angler Avery Padgett was the lone Trojan to qualify for the national championship. (submitted)

TROY freshman angler Avery Padgett has done some serious bass fishing this year, qualifying him to compete in the Major League Fishing’s ABU Garcia College Fishing National Championship in January.

Avery Padgett, on the bow of TROY Bass Team boat captained by Kasen Pemberton, waits for the start of MLF's ABU Garcia College Fishing National Championship. (MLF/Rob Matsurra)
Avery Padgett, on the bow of TROY Bass Team boat captained by Kasen Pemberton, waits for the start of MLF’s ABU Garcia College Fishing National Championship. (MLF/Rob Matsurra)

Padgett, an Elba native, was the lone TROY angler to qualify for the tournament, fished at Kissimmee’s (FL) Lake Toho.

“This was a huge accomplishment for me as a freshman to qualify for a MLF national championship,” Padgett said. “I knew going into it that it wasn’t going to be easy, as I have never been to this lake before and with only two short days of practice.”

Padgett said his gameplan developed over the two days of practice, where he caught enough fish in practice to believe he could catch about 15 pounds of fish per day in the tournament. That was before a cold front with rain blew in and caused the cancellation of Day 1, a first ever for the tournament.

Overall, Padgett finished the tournament 120th out of 135 teams, weighing in just six pounds, 11 ounces on three fish. The Adrian College team edged out Campbellsville University by 1 ounce to take the win with 10 fish weighing 42 pounds, 4 ounces. Only four single anglers placed in the top 50.

Kasen Pemberton, left, and Avery Padgett put points on the board in the School of the Year running. (submitted)
Kasen Pemberton, left, and Avery Padgett put points on the board in the School of the Year running. (submitted)

“I was boat 130 out of 138 and had a late weigh-in time, so I thought that would help my bite. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and I didn’t make the right adjustments throughout the tournament to re-locate the fish,” he said. “This was a huge learning experience that I can take away from for years to come.”

The TROY team competed the week before on the Harris Chain of Lakes, which had also proven a tricky tournament. There, Padgett and his partner Kasen Pemberton were able to salvage some Tackle Warehouse School of the Year points, where the Trojans are currently ranked 26th nationally.

“Florida had my number but there is always next year,” Padgett added.

College bass teams head out onto Florida's Lake Toho for the ABU Garcia College Fishing National Championship. (MLF/Rob Matsurra)
College bass teams head out onto Florida’s Lake Toho for the ABU Garcia College Fishing National Championship. (MLF/Rob Matsurra)
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