Sullivan County

16-year-old fisherman from Abingdon beats pros to win a new boat

BLUFF CITY, Tenn. - A 16-year-old fisherman from Abingdon is reeling in a big prize after winning a fishing competition in Upstate New York.

Zachary won the co-angling division with 46 pounds of bass but the biggest catch of the day was winning a voucher to pick out a 17-foot boat.

"It really is amazing," he said. "I''m speechless."

Zachary has been around boats all of his life and told us fishing came naturally.

"Mom and Dad had me on the boat since I was in diapers," he said. "I started tournament fishing and youth club when I was 11 and it's kind of progressed from there."

That's no fish tale. In fact, he's become so good at his craft he's earned a voucher, equal to about $25,000, to spend on a new boat of his choice.

He won the voucher at a tournament on Lake Champlain in New York as he competed against pros.

"The first two days I was throwing a drop shot catching small mouth and the final day I was throwing Texas rig worm in the grass to catch large mouth," Zachary explained.

Zachary's parents were at the tournament to cheer home on. His father, Andy, told us they've been doing this together for a long time.

"While I was learning, he was a little guy growing up on a boat so we kinda learned it together," said Andy Francis. 

Now they have to tackle a big decision. They can buy the new boat and sell it so Zachary can put the money into savings, trade it in with their old boat to get an upgrade, or simply keep the new boat and head to the next competition.

"He travels to these just to learn from the pros," said Andy Francis. "This is the best way, at the stage that he's at, to improve and get better."

For Zachary, this isn't just a hobby he's hooked on. He hopes to make fishing a career.

Most Popular