Basscats go to Nationals

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2016



The Bainbridge Basscats returned Monday from a hot weekend of fishing at Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee, without a trophy, but with even more passion for the sport.

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The Costa Bassmaster High School Series National Championship saw young anglers from across the country meeting at Kentucky Lake for a tournament they’ve been practicing for all year.

Bainbridge High School fishermen Cuyler Duke and Bryson Arthur came in 76 out of 170 high school teams, each featuring two anglers.

Duke, 16, and Arthur, 15, reeled in 13 pounds, 14 ounces of fish after Day 3.

The water was nothing like either had seen before, they said. Tons of rocks. No grass. The two sophomore settled for finding bass on docks and rocks.

“The fish weren’t really biting,” Duke said. “I had a big one break off on the second day that probably would have put us up there, but it is what it is. That’s fishing. I learned a lot, like how frustrating it is but how much I love it.”

Duke and Arthur arrived at Paris, Tennessee, on Friday, July 29, and practiced fishing every day until the tournament started Thursday, Aug. 4.

“We’ll come back next year and fish,” Arthur said. “We hope it grows. We want more people in it. We just have to get the word out.”

Junior Division Basscats were eighth graders Laney Birdsong, 13 and Hunter Davis, 13, who qualified for the tournament after winning the Junior State Championship at Lake Seminole in June.

Birdsong and Davis came in 27th out of 29 teams, but were optimistic about the experience and can’t wait to compete again.

“Most of the time we fished top water,” Davis said. “We tried to go deep and it wasn’t working out for us.”

The High School Series National Champions were Ryan Wood and Turner Mason of Front Range Bass Club, Colorado, with 49 pounds, 4 ounces