Dawson Hudson and Peyton Sorrow are only freshmen, but they’ve already accomplished a fishing feat no one in Greenwood has ever done.
Hudson is a freshman at Greenwood High, Sorrow is a freshman at Greenwood Christian School, and the two are the first from Greenwood to qualify for the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Classic tournament in August at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.
The High School Classic includes fishing teams from across the country, and Hudson and Sorrow made it after finishing fourth in the points standings of the Palmetto Boat Center High School Tournament Trail, a series of tournaments that includes about 350 teams from all over the state.
“You got to rise to the occasion when you’re fishing with those guys, because there’s a lot of them on the trail,” Sorrow said of the competition he and Hudson will face in August.
The Palmetto Boat Center High School Tournament Trail is a series of seven tournaments across the school year. Hudson and Sorrow, who compete with the Greenwood High School Eagle Eye Anglers, won one tournament in the series; their lowest finish of the year was 28th.
The two started fishing when they were in middle school, and Sorrow said he is so familiar with it now that he often goes out on his own to fish.
Sorrow and Hudson were some of the youngest anglers on the GHS Eagle Eye Anglers team, but they’ve come into their own after learning from older teammates, some of which are now fishing at Lander or Clemson.
“I’d say from the past guys, that’s where I learned a lot,” Hudson said. “And getting to know the new guys and talking to them and helping them out is really a good thing.”
Lake Cumberland will be a huge challenge in August. J.J. Hudson, Dawson’s father and their boat captain for each tournament, said the size of the lake and hot temperatures will be the biggest issues.
Sorrow and Hudson have fished in several different conditions of the course of the school year. Hudson said the hardest tournament was at Lake Russell in December, when they had to withstand rain and a temperature of less than 30 degrees.
The highlight of the High School Series was a win and record haul of 19.5 pounds last October at Lake Murray. In that tournament, expected impact from Hurricane Florence caused water levels to be drawn down.
Sorrow said he’s learned recently to be versatile with his angling methods.
“You got to know how to adjust,” Sorrow said. “When you pull up to one of your best spots and someone is sitting on it, you got to (think to yourself,) ‘Hey, I’m doing this, what else is similar to it?’ and so you can go to another area and try that. You got to be very versatile.”
J.J. has instructed the fishing team in the past, but he said he’s allowed them to figure things out on their own a little more this season. Neither of the two anglers have had any trouble finding their own way.
“They would run everything and control the motor,” J.J. said. “In practice, they would find a lot of good spots on their own. So really, just kind of sitting back watching this year and trying to give them guidance this year, from stuff I’ve done in the past, and they’ve just sucked it up like sponges.”