BassCats compete on a national stage

Published 5:17 pm Friday, June 23, 2017

Bainbridge fishing duo Caleb Reynolds and Lex Thompson returned from representing the Basscats at the Junior Divison National Championship in Paris, Tennessee on Wednesday.

The pair finished in 32nd place, but the experience is something both boys will never forget.

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“I didn’t even care if we won,” said Thompson. “I’m just glad that we went.”

Reynolds and Thompson qualified for the tournament after their second place finish at the Georgia state championships on Lake Blackshear in May. Since then, the research and the practice had been rolling for the tournament.

“Adapting to the new water,” said Caleb Reynolds when asked about the challenges of fishing a new lake. “We try to stick to our roots, stick to what we’re used to fishing.”

“It was very different,” said Thompson. “We had to change up a little bit.”

According to Boat Captain Brad Reynolds, the pair experimented with different techniques for fishing.

“It was a different terrain for us,” said Reynolds. “And it was crowded, we tried to stay away from the crowd but it was just so hard to get away.”

Drop shots, light line and shaky head lures are a handful of the different techniques that the team had to experiment with.

The nature of the sport calls for traveling, so they used their experiences from their travels to help them experiment in Tennessee. The duo recently came back from Chatuge Lake in North Carolina where they had to really adapt to fish. 

Challenges aside, the trip gave the boys an experience of a lifetime.

This year was the first year the boys had fished together, and along with that, they qualified at the last possible opportunity on Lake Blackshear. Not only was it the last opportunity for the to qualify for Nationals, but with the two staring down ninth grade, it was their last opportunity to go in the Junior Division.

With their trip to Nationals under their belt, they will definitely come in with a level of confidence as ninth graders.

“It’ll be more competitive,” said Thompson. “There are more high schoolers than there are in junior division.”

The sport has seen an explosion in popularity over the past few years, and the school has tripled in size in the junior division over the past three years according the Brad Reynolds. With the growth of the sport, comes growth in attention. This year’s tournament was covered by ESPN and will be broadcast at a later date.