When the water warms up again in the spring, Jim Stone’s fishing experience should be quite a bit different.
Getting $46,000 to build a boat exactly how you want it changes the game a little bit.
Stone finished first at the Bass Fishing League regional championships, conducted this month at Barren River in Glasgow, Kentucky. The 50-year-old Greenwood resident hauled in eight bass totaling 23 pounds and 5 ounces over the course of the three-day competition, earning himself a spot in the 2018 BFL All-American — and a significant allowance to put toward a new boat.
“I thought, if I could just make the All-American again, that would be so awesome,” Stone said. “Winning the boat on top of it, that just totally throws a big curveball at you.
“It’s like getting a Cadillac for nothing.”
Though he wound up winning pretty comfortably, Stone still had to sweat out the win. Ahead of the pack by 7 pounds, 12 ounces after the second day, he pulled in just one fish on the final day and needed to wait to see if his lead would hold up.
He was especially anxious after losing a couple of 3-pounders early in the day, worried that those might end up haunting him. (Stone finished second at the regional by seven ounces in 2016.)
“I’m thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, are you serious?’” he said. “You second-guess yourself, because you don’t know, but it all worked out.”
In addition to the boat, Stone earned a return trip to the All-American, which will be conducted in late May on Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana. He placed eighth among 42 qualifiers at the event earlier this year.
Though he has enjoyed a good run of success recently, Stone doesn’t seem to be letting his ego get out of control.
“I just got lucky and got a few good bites,” he said.