Anthony Malone (left) and Ayden Malone were not able to catch a fifth fish on Saturday. However, the four they did land proved to weigh enough for the cousins to claim their first-ever Bass Pro Shops Tournament Championship.

LENOIR CITY, TN (WLAF) – “I had a gut feeling,” said Anthony Malone. “I felt good about it,” said Anthony’s cousin, Ayden Malone. All with good reason, because after sweating it out until all teams catches had been weighed, their hunches were spot on. The Jacksboro Middle School 8th graders claimed the Bass Pro Shops Tournament Championship on Saturday at Fort Loudon Lake.

Seventy-three boats of middle school anglers competed in the Bass Pro Shops Tennessee High School Tournament, and the Malones of the Campbell County Middle School Fishing Team rode home with their first BPS Tournament victory.

“We followed our pattern all day, and the fish were biting. But we just couldn’t get that fifth fish” said Ayden Malone. “I was a little nervous with just four fish, but in the end, four were enough,” said Anthony Malone. Those four fish weighed a tournament winning 7.41 pounds.

“It’s unreal what these boys are accomplishing at such a young age. Seems like they get better each tournament,” said Mike King, Campbell County Middle School Fishing Team Head Coach.

Ayden calls the weekend’s milestone win an awesome thing. Anthony says it even ranks above the duo’s The Bass Federation’s (TBF) Tennessee Junior State Championship in 2021. See the related story of the 2021 championship HERE.

What a day it was on Saturday for Anthony Malone (left) and Ayden Malone.

“This is the best feeling, and I’m feeling confident about this Saturday’s TBF Tournament,” said Anthony. The Malone cousins will fish Watts Barr Lake out of Tom Fuller Park at Rockwood. “That’s my favorite lake,” Anthony added.

While Anthony looks to Saturday, and with school out today, Ayden is headed out at daylight to trout fish on the banks of Tackett Creek at White Oak.

They both expressed their appreciation to all their sponsors, Coach King and their captain adding that they keep us going. “The Good Lord has blessed us,” said Ayden. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/15/2023-6AM)