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Oliver Springs High School seniors Dustin Mayton and Hayden Everett represented Tennessee at the Southeastern Conference Bass Fishing Championship on Sept. 29 at Lake Wylie along the border of North and South Carolina.
They finished sixth out of eight teams at the SEC event after winning their state tournament on May 12 at Nickajack Lake.
The SEC Championship is a college club event with a high school division. Mayton and Everett boated three bass weighing a total of 4.8 pounds while competing against high school state champs from other southern states.
They traveled to Lake Wylie a week earlier to get in a practice round.
“We caught some deep fish,” Everett said.
“That’s when we do our best, though, is when the fish are deep.”
It’s how they won the Tennessee State Championship. Mayton and Everett fished Carolina rigs and Showboat Lures swim-baits to ring up a five-bass limit of 16.56 pounds, which was nearly two pounds more than the second place team.
The boys went 12 feet down to catch their winning stringer of bass.
“That’s deep for that time of year,” Everett said.
Mayton and Everett needed only two honey holes to win the state tournament.
“We found a couple of good spots,” Mayton said.
“The first day, we barely caught anything, but we came back the second day and probably had 20 pounds.”
The morning of the state tournament, the boys had half their winning stringer before their breakfast had settled.
“It wasn’t 15 minutes and we got three keepers in the boat,” Mayton said.
When the first hole played out, the boys went to the second location where they clinched the championship with a couple more keepers during the early afternoon hours.
“People started moving in on us, so we had to hold our ground on the second spot,” said Everett, whose 5.8-pound largemouth was the biggest fish of the day for the Oliver Springs team.
Mayton and Everett have been members of the Oliver Springs High School Bass Club since its inception four years ago.
“It was the first club in the state,” Mayton said.
The OSHS Bass Club has eight teams, but Mayton and Everett were the only two fishermen that competed at the state tournament.
Everett plans to enroll at Tennessee Technological University at Cookeville, where he plans to major in mechanical engineering and fish on the collegiate level.
Mayton hopes to be an electrician’s apprentice after he graduates. Like Everett, he also plans to continue fishing in tournaments during his spare time.