Competitive bass fishing is a game of ounces. In Jim Stone’s case, about seven of them.
The Greenwood resident was in Kentucky last weekend for the Bass Fishing League regional championships, and his total catch of 29 pounds, 13 ounces was good for second place among competing co-anglers.
Winner Jim Budde of Iowa totaled 30 pounds, 4 ounces, which earned him $45,200 and a new Ranger fishing boat. Stone came home with $5,050 and an all-expenses-paid berth in the 2017 BFL All-American in Alabama — which was just fine with him.
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“I’m not going to be greedy about it,” Stone said of missing out on the big prize. “Just making the All-American was the big thing.”
The runner-up finish capped a highly successful season for the 49-year-old Stone, who competed in the Michigan BFL for the first time after fishing primarily in Indiana for more than a decade.
Stepping up to more challenging bodies of water, including Lake Erie, Stone acquitted himself well, finishing 16th in the league’s points standings and earning a spot in the regional.
“There’s a lot more competition up there,” he said. “For my first year fishing on this kind of water, I did pretty good.”
Regardless of any future successes that might come, Stone seems unlikely to forget where he’s come from. He’s a longtime member of the Johnson County Christian Bassmasters, and he went out of his way to express his gratitude to Honey Creek Tackle in Bargersville for their support.
Next June, Stone will be on Pickwick Lake in northwestern Alabama, where he’ll be battling some of the country’s top co-anglers for a top prize $60,000.
The margin of victory will likely again be measured in ounces — and Stone hopes that this time, he’ll be on the heavier side.