The Brusly High School bass fishing duo of Greg Diamond and Michael Bonadona went into the Mossy Oak Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods earlier this month as one of 337 boats in the competition.
By the time the three-day event concluded at Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee, the tandem had separated from the bunch.
The Brusly seniors finished in seventh place with 11 bass totaling 32 pounds, 13 ounces.
In order to reach the national tournament, Diamond and Bonadona had to go through several state qualification tournaments, as well as the state championship tournament.
“We got out there a week ahead of time to kind of practice and scout on this giant lake,” Diamond said. “We had a tough practice and we weren’t getting but like one or two, maybe three bites a day and we stumbled upon a place the last day of practice. Rocky bottom was key in about 15 to 25 feet of water. We found some fish that were grabbing two particular baits in common. The 10-inch plum Mister Twister worm and a football jig with a pocket craw.”
The team finished the first day of the tournament at 15 pounds, 8 ounces, but the second day was a slow one for every team because of weather conditions.
“Practice was definitely really hard throughout all of that,” Bonadona explained. “The tournament came around and Greg was in the front of the boat catching them. He caught three and I was able to finish off the limit and catch the last two. That day we came out with 15-8. It was a decent bag for day one. Day two came around, the ball game changed a little bit we had a little bit more wind that we wanted. The fish kind of settled down a little bit. We weren’t alone.”
Both fishermen agreed that the first goal was to make it to the final day and then see where they could go from there.
“My expectation going into an event like this with 337 boats was making it to day three,” Diamond said. “That was an accomplishment, being in the top 12 is a main accomplishment.”
The team’s boat captain, Brent Bonadona, said the duo will have another opportunity to chase a national championship this upcoming season.
“These two guys are seniors this year,” he said. “They have an opportunity to come back and make it to nationals. As far as the school and the team, I feel we’ve been really successful. Only being in operation for two years now, we’ve sent a team to nationals two years in a row. That kind of says a lot about the group of guys that we have.”
Diamond echoed those sentiments.
“It’s exciting to know we have one more year to do this,” he said. “We’re partners and we fish a lot throughout the year other than competition. We fish a lot together for fun. We know how each other rolls. It’s going to be fun this upcoming year, we’re going to try to get it done.”
Two students from Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama won the tournament by catching 15 bass, weighing a combined total of 50 pounds, 2 ounces.