On the lake with a young East Tennessee couple who spent prom night fishing

This East Tennessee couple spent their prom night on the lake.
This East Tennessee couple spent their prom night on the lake.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 9:04 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It’s not every day you hear about ending a prom night fishing on the lake, but for one young East Tennessee couple, that’s just what they did.

Luke Lankford and Mary Jo Mattingly like to spend their free time away from school and sports, out on the water together.

“I’ve been fishing for my whole life basically. 17 years,” Lankford said. He shared his hobby with his girlfriend nearly a year ago.

“After a couple of trips, I’ve taken her out a lot along the way and it’s just grown from there,” he said. Mattingly herself learning from her boyfriend.

“I never even touched a pole barely and then he was like ‘c’mon kick it into gear!’” she said. The best trip for the two though, may have been when Lankford started the day in a tuxedo and Mattingly in a dress for junior prom.

The two liked prom well enough, but decided after an hour to switch things up and go night fishing at Melton Hill Lake.

“She asked me, she’s like ‘you know what Luke, let’s go’ and I was like ‘okay,’” Lankford said.

Before long, they saw a fish coming by the boat. It was no small thing.

“I was like that’s a big one coming up our way,” Lankford said. Mattingly ended up reeling in a seven-pound walleye, making it a night to remember.

“Catching the fish was pretty cool. I mean that’s a pretty cool thing to remember,” Mattingly said.

Lankford was the one who cast the reel to catch the walleye, but he gives all the credit to his girlfriend for reeling it in.