LCHS basslete finds fishing pays off: Dustin Jones reels in Campbellsville University scholarship
Published 1:04 pm Thursday, March 2, 2017
Spending some time on the lake with a rod and reel in hand can often get you dinner or a prize to mount on the wall.
These days, fishing can also get you a lot more.
Lincoln County High School senior Dustin Jones has used the past four years of learning the ins and outs of the sport of bass fishing to turn it into a way to help pay for college, signing to fish with Campbellsville University.
“I always thought if I could go for fishing that would be great. Getting paid money through a scholarship just to do what I love, all the better,” he said.
Signing with Campbellsville fulfilled his dream of combining a pursuit of a college education with getting to fish, however, Jones said a “no fishing” offer would not have changed his college choice.
“If I couldn’t have fished, I’d have still gone to college and it still would have been Campbellsville,” he said. “I’d spent some time there before and it’s always been a school that I liked. The National Fishing Championship was held on Green River Lake and I stayed there for a whole week helping with that. I’ve also been on other visits and went to FCA Camp there.”
“I visited a couple of other schools but none of them really interested me like Campbellsville. I just love it!”
Jones, the son of Adriane and Eric Jones of Stanford, will be part of Campbellsville’s co-ed bass fishing team, which got its start in the spring of 2014. The team is coached by Tommy Hall.
Jones, who gave up baseball to put a line in the water and fish, attributed the knowledge he gained while a member of the LCHS bass fishing team for helping him earn the Campbellsville scholarship.
“I think that helped me a lot because I’ve not had a figure there before to help me along that’s experienced,” Jones said. “Me and Dad have been doing it (recreational fishing) the same amount of time, but there’s a lot more to know than just how to bait a hook and hope the fish bite. I’ve had to figure out a lot on my own and being on the school team has helped a lot.”
While Jones hasn’t officially stepped foot on the Campbellsville campus as a student/athlete, he says he already feels like a member of the college team.
“Pete Hedgepath, the assistant coach, we text back and forth sharing fishing stories and I’ve been acquainted with a lot of people on the team and stay in touch with them,” he said. “I’m looking forward to when I’m actually a member of the team.”
And just how good an angler is Jones?
“I like to think that I am good, but I’m not on the level as guys that have been doing this since they’ve been walking,” he said.
Since he didn’t begin fishing competitively until four years ago, Jones knows that he will be competing against some very experienced fishermen when he makes the step up to the college level.
“When me and Tommy (Coach Hall) first started talking about coming to Campbellsville and fishing and all that, he said it’s just like any other sport, ‘You’re going to get your butt whupped by, you know, by juniors and seniors, but through that you’re going to learn and get experienced.’ It’s just like any other sport. If you go out there and put forth the work and effort, you’re going to be good. You’re going to be good.”
One of Jones’ biggest accomplishments in fishing came last July at Kentucky Lake while fishing alongside his dad.
“Over the summer I fished what’s called the U.S.A. Bassin Next Generation Classic. It’s a team tournament, of a person over 18, which was my dad, and me and we fished against 35 other teams from across the nation on Kentucky Lake and we ended up coming in second place on the final day,” said Jones, who had a runner-up weight of 36.92.
Lincoln bass fishing coach Street Spoonamore is happy that Jones can turn his love for fishing into a way to help pay for college.
“This is a great opportunity for Dustin to practice his skills while earning a degree to prepare him for life,” he said. “Just like any other sport, there is always a chance with a lot of hard work and a little luck that a sport can become a career.”
While being able to make a living fishing would be nice, Jones says his goal in life is a little simpler.
“A goal that I’m really looking at is not necessarily being a professional fisherman but moving up in the fishing industry and working for a company moving up. That’s what I’d really like to do,” he said.
Jones is considering pursuing a degree in environmental science at Campbellsville.