Armed with youthful enthusiasm and a passion for fishing, a pair of Payson High School 2011 graduates is determined to make their mark on the professional bass fishing circuit.
Cameron Geske and Kyle Randall, both ex-Longhorn football players, travel to Roosevelt Lake tomorrow, Nov. 17, to compete in an All-Star Team Tournament that is expected to draw some of the finest anglers in Arizona.
Geske is confident he and Randall will do well, partly because Roosevelt is their home lake and the two longtime buddies have fished those waters since they were pre-teens.
“I like our chances, we expect to do well,” Geske said.
Turning in an outstanding performance would be nothing new for the duo who on Oct. 27 at Bartlett Lake fished their way to a third place finish in an All-Star Team Tournament circuit opener.
All-Star officials say fishing conditions that day were extremely tough, but Geske and Randall were able to weigh in 9.95 pounds, which was just short of the tournament winning catch of 10.21 pounds. The second place team’s catch was just .02 pounds heavier than that weighed in by the Payson pair.
For the bronze medal finish, Geske and Randall pocketed $3,505 in prize money.
If the duo has their way, that money will be just the beginning of several more top finishes.
“We are going to try to fish all of the All-Star tournaments this year,” Geske said. “We might also fish some others like WON (Western Outdoor News), FLW and American Bass Association.”
Geske admits that is an ambitious schedule for two up and coming first-year pros, but says he and Randall have been determined for years to make their mark on the professional circuit.
Their quest to reach the big time began in May 2011 when the two won the inaugural Open High School Bass Tournament at Roosevelt. The victory qualified them for the High School World Championships on Lake Dardanelle near Russellville, Ark.
Most surprising about the win in the Roosevelt tournament, is that Geske and Randall out-fished a highly favored Phoenix-area team that a year earlier finished second in the high school world finals.
The Payson pair weighed in a limit that tipped the scales at 12.43 points. The defending high school silver medalists caught 9.01 pounds.
At Lake Dardanelle, however, Randall and Geske, came up short of their goal of cashing in on prize packages worth thousands of dollars including college scholarships.
Struggling to catch fish in unfamiliar waters, the Rim Country teenagers weighed in just three bass of 7 pounds, 3 ounces.
On opening day they boated two fish that weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces and on the second day caught a lone 1-pound, 5-ounce fish.
Their total weight earned Randall and Geske a 53rd place finish in the 102-team field of qualifiers.
Although the finish wasn’t what the two had their sights set on, Geske and Randall agree it was an honor competing against the best high school anglers in the country and the experience served to whet their competitive spirit to enter even more tournaments, especially on the pro level.