It hasn’t taken the Scottsboro High School BassCats fishing team long to make its mark in its two years in the sport.
On Saturday, the 2019-20 BassCats made the program a championship one.
Scottsboro reeled in the six-man team state championship of the 2020 Alabama BASS Nation High School state tournament over the weekend on Lake Guntersville. The tournament was fished out of Goose Pond Colony in Scottsboro.
“This is a huge accomplishment for not just our new program, but for any program,” said Scottsboro coach Cully Nelson. “I could not be happier for our guys right now. From top to bottom our team fished in some extreme conditions for two days and had a great showing.”
Scottsboro’s six-man team consisted of angler duos Barclay Butler and Connor McLaughlin, Kolby Clark and Landon Grider and Tanner Barclay and AJ Widgeon.
Scottsboro finished with a two-day total of 18 fish weighing 67.53 pounds, more than six pounds in front of runner-up East Limestone and 11-pounds before than third-place American Christian Academy. DAR had a pair of six-man teams finish fourth and fifth respectively.
Scottsboro’s Butler and McLaughlin, the 2019-20 second-place Co-Anglers of the Year for the Tide Division, finished third overall with a two-day total of six fish weighing 26.36 pounds. The duo was in eighth-place with three fishing weighing 12.34 pounds after Day 1.
Scottsboro’s Cameron Thompson and Grant West finished ninth with six fish weighing 23.90 pounds over both days (three-fish limit per day) while Clark and Grider were 11th with six fish weighing 22.63 pounds, moving up nine sports from their Day 1 finish. Barclay and Widgeon finished 30th (six fish weighing 18.29 pounds) while Matt Croft and Eli Mason were 45th (six fish weighing 16.47 pounds), Karsten Renfroe and Sawyer Evans 52nd (six-fish weighing 15.83 pounds), Carter Cooper and Wynn Reed 103rd (six fish weighing 12.63 pounds) and Buckner Anderson and Greyson Widgeon 126th (four fish weighing 9.63 pounds).
“We don't normally fish a two-day format,” Nelson said, “so there were some challenges as to not just catching fish today but do I save some of these bites for tomorrow or do I look at other spots? Again a huge thanks and lots of credit goes to our (boat) captains. The other thing is we had boats that caught all of their fish shallow while others that caught all of them deep and still some that did a little bit of both.”
Scottsboro had the lead after Day 1 on Friday with nine fishing weighing 33.50 pounds.
Scottsboro also had four angler duos — Butler and McLaughlin, Barclay and Widgeon, Clark and Grider and Thompson and West — qualify to fish in the BASS Nation High School National Tournament on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee in October.
“I can’t wait to see what we can do at Nationals,” Nelson said.
For now, the BassCats will relish the state championship they won on the “home lake.”
“Anytime you win a state championship it is a big deal,” Nelson said, “but to get the opportunity to do it ‘at home’ on Lake Guntersville and at Goose Pond just amplifies it all. It’s just really cool to get to show out for so many who support us here locally.”
Nelson said the program is proud of the success its achieved in its short existence.
“Just two years ago Drew McNutt and myself were excited that we were just going to have a team,” he said. “It was something that we had been working on for five years at the time. When we were able to compete at a high level in Year 1, we started thinking that big things were coming. We were still trying to figure things out early in the year, but began to see some possibilities unfold. To do what we did this year is no small task. Without our dedicated captains and the countless hours they put into this to the community sponsors that help us to do what we do financially. It was a team effort.”