FLORENCE — The Astoria High School bass fishing team of Michael Postlewait and Leo Matthews opened the 2018-19 season July 28 as the defending state champions.
And in the span of nine hours, they went from the favorites to repeat, to now the underdogs for the season.
“We just couldn’t get on the fish,” Postlewait said. “We covered the lake and tried a variety of baits. We just couldn’t get the bite. We were fishing baits other teams used with success, but it just wasn’t meant to be for us today.”
Westview High School won the day on Siltcoos Lake south of Florence with a bag weight of 9.35 pounds, and also claimed the big fish spot with 2.73 pounds.
McMinnville High School finished second with 7.41 pounds and Amity rounded out the top three with 7.41 pounds.
“We have some serious ground that we need to make up on Tenmile (Lake),” Matthews said. “We still have a shot at a repeat, but we need a top two finish at the next event.”
The next event will be Sept. 1 on Tenmile Lake north of Coos Bay.
Postlewait added that at the professional level, there have been a combined 70 annual championships between FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) and Bassmasters. Out of the 70, there have only been three repeat winners.
“People don’t realize how tough it is to fish competitively,” Postlewait said. “It’s not the kick back and troll style of fishing. We are up on the deck, grinding it out for eight, nine, 10 hours at a time. Sometimes the fish cooperate, and sometimes not. You always have to stay positive.
“As competitive anglers, we are representing our school, our sponsors, and our supporters. It is much more like work, than a vacation.”
This is the second season Astoria has fielded a team to compete in the statewide championship series hosted by The Bass Federation of Oregon.
There will be a total of four events this season, with the next on Tenmile Lake Sept. 1, on Celilo Pool on the Columbia River April 13. The season concludes May 11 at Cascade Locks.