Tristan Thomas and Dakota Crumley from Georgia’s East Hall High School pulled off an unforgettable fishing tournament win on Sept. 26.
The pair pulled out a first-place finish in the one-day tournament with a five-fish limit that weighed 12-lbs., 3-ozs. during FLW’s Student Angler Federation Southeastern Conference Championship tournament. They barely edged past two high-school anglers from Alabama’s Hazel Green High School. That team weighed in 12-lbs., 2-ozs.
The SEC tournament took place on Lake Lanier, Tristan and Dakota’s home lake. High-school teams from eight southeastern states fished in the 45-boat tournament.
The Hall County winners pre-fished the lake for only two days during the week prior to the tournament.
“We just knew we had to follow patterns of the fish,” said Dakota.
Both Tristan and Dakota were mainly relying on what they already knew about fishing patterns on the lake. With both fishermen now in college and taking on jobs, they did not have much time to practice.
“We practiced some in the south end of the lake but had no luck,” said Tristan. “We stayed at the north end the entire tournament.”
The duo used a shaky head with a Reaction Innovations green-pumpkin worm to catch all of their fish.
“We stayed above Gainesville Marina and spent all of our time that day in Wahoo Creek,” said Tristan.
Dakota and Tristan both noted that their support from family and friends was a big part of their success during this tournament.
Their win qualifies them for a trip to the High School National Championship next spring where a $10,000 scholarship is awarded to the winners. The location of that event has not been announced by FLW yet.
Tristan currently attends the University of North Georgia Gainesville with a concentration in business. He hopes to transfer to the University of Georgia to pursue his bachelors and also take a shot at joining the college’s fishing team.
Dakota is attending North Georgia Technical College where he is also studying business in hopes of one day owning his own business; however, he would also love the chance to fish professionally.
“It’s all about meeting the right people,” said Dakota.