Four boats from the GCHS Bass Team traveled to Lake Martin, Alabama over the weekend to compete in the Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open. Josh Powers and Cole Stewart representing the Yellow Jacket club took the tournament title with five fish weighing 14 pounds, four ounces. The win qualified the two for the B.A.S.S. High School National Championship later this summer.
Josh and Cole were captained by Wesley Taylor and probably fished a little deeper than others in the tournament. They found a deep school of fish and showed great patience – only catching nine fish all day but improving their weight all day with each fish.
“It feels great. We had to keep our heads in the game and never give up. It was a long day but it’s by far the best feeling ever to walk across the Bassmaster stage and hear that we were the new leaders. When we herd that we had lost by one ounce on the big fish it was a upsetting but we didn’t let it get to us. We knew we had done what we came to do and that was win. We’re ready to go to the nationals but most importantly we want to thank our sponsors that helped get us there,” said Powers
“That was the first big tournament I have ever fished and it’s hard to explain how great the feeling was to walk across that stage and be put in the hot seat. It was a great privilege to compete in this tournament. I want to thank all the sponsors, our parents, grandparents, and the GCHS Bass Club and our coach Wesley Taylor for helping us get there,” said Stewart.
The tournament saw 203 boats representing students from seven states in one of the biggest events ever in high school fishing.
Powers and Stewart are in their first year on the team and are one of the two boats fishing with Grundy from Frankly County High. The Winchester school does not have a fishing team so B.A.S.S. allows them to co-op on the GCHS Bass Team.
Team Kyle for Grundy made up of Kyle Ingleburger and Kyle Palmer, the other Franklin County boat, finished the tourney in twentieth place with five fish for eight pounds and 13 ounces. That finish also qualified them for the nationals and had them in the money of the event.
Team Kyle will be in Seneca, South Carolina this weekend to compete in the Bassmaster High School Classic on Saturday. They will fish Lake Keowee and the event will be covered live on www.bassmaster.com. The two earned the berth in the event by finishing second on Douglas Lake last year in the first major B.A.S.S. high school event.
Hank Lowrie and Daniel Stiefel were also in the money as the event paid the top 30 positions. Lowrie and Stiefel had five fish for eight pounds and four ounces. It was a nice recovery for a team that had to switch boats and boat captains as the motor blew on Lowrie’s boat the day before in practice. Fortunately, Freddy Palmer, Kyle’s dad, was there with his boat and offered to take the two out so they didn’t miss the tournament.
Dalton Summers and Peyton Tate finished in ninety-fifth place with three fish for four pounds five ounces. Summers and Tate are fishing from Sequatchie County as their school also doesn’t have a team.
Grundy’s team is made up of 12 boats and 24 students from Grundy, Franklin, Coffee and Sequatchie Counties. All 12 are scheduled to compete in the area tournaments this spring.
The GCHS Bass Team is having a fundraising bingo and chili supper Friday, February 27, at the Gruetli-Laager Community Center beginning at 6:00 p.m.. Everyone is invited out for good food and great prizes to help this team pay their way to the tourneys this season. You can also join the GCHS Bass Boosters to support the team at the chili supper or by contacting Coach David Lowrie at 931-235-6216 or email@example.com.
Next up, tournament wise, is the Tracker Boat Center Open at Tims Ford Lake, March 21. Grundy will also fish March 28, at Dayton on Chickamauga, April 25, on Center Hill Lake and May 2, on Nickajack Lake.
Follow the GCHS Bass Team on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GchsBassTeam. You can join the conversation about high school bass fishing at www.hsfishingforum.com.