The GCHS Bass team will have a boat in the biggest tournament in high school fishing for the second year in a row. Saturday, the team of Josh Powers and Cole Stewart along with boat captain Wesley Taylor will compete in the BASS High School Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hudson, Oklahoma. They will compete against 10 other boats who are the best in the nation.
Powers and Stewart are in their second year on the GCHS Bass Team and are seniors at Franklin County High School. There is no fishing team at FCHS so the two fish with the Grundy County High School team with six others from FCHS.
Powers and Stewart had to qualify for the Classic and did so by winning the Southern Open on Lake Martin, Alabama, on February 14, 2015. The two beat out over 200 other boats to get the win and get the slot to the Classic.
Both fishermen started young and then grew into tournament fishing.
“I started when I was eight. I started tournament fishing because it’s challenging. I like to win and it takes work to win,” said Stewart.
“I first started fishing when I was about three years old, Dad and I would always fish the annual Jonathan Ackerman tournament along with Take a Kid Fishing Rodeo. I first started tournament fishing mainly because it was more time away from home and of course more time with dad. I had grown to being a daddy’s boy as most call it today, but one thing I have learned is being in the outdoors is a great way to learn about the nature and what I love to call God’s country. What motivates me more than anything is the passion I have had for the outdoors. It is something I eat sleep and breath year round,” said Powers.
The team experienced high waves and some trolling motor trouble on their first day of practice Sunday. They posted a video on their P & S Outdoors Facebook page. They had a better day of practice Monday and found several schools of fish. They hope to build on that this week and have a successful day Saturday.
Powers has a solid perspective on what it takes to be successful in tournament fishing.
“It takes a lot of patience but when in the right spot it can make your day exciting. Also, it is a competitor sport and that always falls into play as I grew up playing in sports,” said Powers.
Both fishermen have been inspired by their boat captain/coach Wesley Taylor.
“A few people inspired me to do what I am doing today but one person stood out from all the others and that is my high school coach Wesley Taylor. After hearing his life experience about fishing the all American and his adventures going through the BLF and FLW circuit. He is always pushing me and teaching me new things each and every time we are on the water together fishing,” said Powers.
As for what they think it will win, the boys know the deal. “It’s going to take 100 percent effort and just five solid keepers,” said Stewart. “Well one thing is for sure, and that’s patience. Patience will always be the key to success in mind and that’s what I have always went by. I think our chances of winning a greater then they were when we took home the win back in February on Lake Martin. My main goal at this tournament will be to stay focused and keep my head in the game and fish hard every time I’m out there,” said Powers.
Both young men plan to go to college and to fish when they get there. Powers has been accepted to Bethel University while Stewart plans to go to Tennessee Tech.
GCHS Bass Team Coach David Lowrie knows Powers and Stewart have what it takes to win. “These two made their mark on the team in their first year with the Southern Open win. They’ve won other area tournaments against full adult fields and they can win anywhere against anyone. Josh and Cole will both fish at the college level next year and be great representatives for our team. I’m thankful Franklin County continues to drag their feet on starting a team because I’ve got some great kids from down there on the Grundy team. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be involved with such great kids,” said Lowrie.
You can follow Powers and Stewart all day Saturday in their fight to win the Bassmaster High School Classic on http://www.bassmaster.com/.
You can support the GCHS Bass Team by attending their annual chili supper and bingo Friday night at the Gruetli-Laager Community center. Doors open at 5 p.m., with food being served. Bingo begins at 6 p.m.