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Fishing is in the blood for many of the Friday Night “3 Keeper Club” tournament participants, but none more so than Jarrod Swift. The Mt. Washington angler said he got his start the same way most young men begin their fishing careers, with their fathers.
“I grew up in Somerset,” Swift said. “My dad and I fished Lake Cumberland for years.”
Swift’s father Darrel was also part of the tournament, fishing on a separate boat with wife Judy Swift.
The Friday Night tournament is part of three similar tournaments held on different nights of the week at Taylorsville Lake State Park. According to Swift the Friday night tournament is the largest tournament of the three.
“The Friday tournament usually has between 60 and 70 boats while the Tuesday tournament has around 50 boats,” Swift said. “The Monday tournament has between 40 and 50 boats.”
The tournament was founded nine years ago by Jim Vernon and is now managed by John Doll and James Sumptor.
“The Friday night tournament is really a good group of people, lot of father and son teams come out to fish the lake and be a part of the tournament,” Swift said.
According to Swift the event is one part NASCAR and one part fishing tournament.
“Just wait till you see everyone take off,” he said.
Each boat pays $25 to compete in the tournament, which included 53 boats for Friday’s tournament. The tournament paid out to five places with first place garnering around $600. Also an additional prize is awarded to the angler who brings in the largest fish.
The tournament is called the “3 Keeper Club” because participants are only allowed to keep 3 fish for weigh in purposes. Anglers compete by attempting to catch largemouth bass, which must be at least 15 inches in length in order to be kept and weighed.
As part of the competition, anglers drew numbered chips to tell them their starting positions for the competition. Positions work similarly to positions in a NASCAR race, with the competitor drawing the first chip leaving the starting line first followed in order by the other competitors. When anglers hear their number called they gas their boats in an all out sprint to reach their favored positions around Taylorsville Lake.
Swift who drew number 17 gassed his Phoenix bass boat and skidded along the lake surface on his way to his favorite fishing spot. Prior to the event Swift went around the lake chatting with several other participants including John Boatright and Jerry Stepp.
“You need to watch out for this guy,” Stepp said referring to Swift.
“Take a note of where he (Swift) goes,” Boatright joked in reference to Swift’s favorite fishing locales.
“This is all about just getting on the water and having a good time,” Swift said.
According to several of the other anglers, Swift has quite a good time, having won several of the weekly tournaments. According to Swift, each of the weekly tournaments also awards an angler of the year title which Swift admitted to having won several times as well.
Friday’s tournament was no different as Swift captured not only the overall victory, but also won for the largest fish. The top five finalists were as follows:
1st place: Jarrod Swift- 3 fish, 9.78 lbs.
2nd place: Clint and Bobby Allgeier- 3 fish, 8.95 lbs.
3rd place: Robby Hicks & Jimmy Lay- 3 fish, 6.97 lbs.
4th place: Zach Shields & Kennth Bentley- 3 fish, 6.85 lbs.
5th place: Cody Boblitt & Kyle Harris- 3 fish, 6.84 lbs.
Biggest fish: Jarrod Swift 3.76 lbs.
According to tournament sponsors, 53 boats participated in the tournament with 34 boats coming back with fish. A total of 68 qualifying fish were caught as part of the tournament.