Casting for school spirit: High schoolers represent in weekend bass tournament
VIDALIA — It has been years since Brittany King picked up a fishing rod and reel and spent some time on the water fishing with her family in Franklin County.
But Saturday was a new day and a time for King to get back out and try fishing again like she did when she was a little girl.
King, 17, was a member of the Natchez High School team that competed in the Third Annual High School Pro/Am Bass Classic Saturday in Concordia Parish. But it was her essay earlier this fall that earned her a spot on the team.
“I wrote about how it would be a new experience for me and allow me to step out of my own little box,” King said. “What I like about fishing is being out on the water and in nature. I really wrote about how I would put forth lots of effort toward winning.”
King had never fished a tournament before but knew she would be OK once she got out on the boat with her pro partner Terrell Foster.
“If I don’t know how to do something, I catch on easy,” she said. “If I can’t do something, I will make my own way to do it.”
King’s first love is drawing and art, she said. She draws a lot of landscapes and has even included fish in her repertoire.
“Hopefully fishing will now give me something to do when I’m not drawing,” she said.
King said she was proud of her essay and happy to be a part of the team.
“It was really awesome,” she said. “It was so unexpected. I know there’s a lot of other great people who tried, and for them to have chosen me is too crazy.”
King represented a group of anglers with no tournament experience that participated Saturday, but there were also some contestants that have been around the block before, like Vidalia High School’s Bryar Hamilton.
“In my essay I wrote about how I love to fish tournaments,” Hamilton said. “It’s always been fun and a major part of my life. And I wrote it so I could fish and represent my school.”
Hamilton represented well by finishing second overall with a three-fish total of 6.97 pounds. That result earned him $200 in prize money.
Hamilton, 17, has been fishing for almost all his life, he said.
“My dad told me I was in diapers when I first started,” he said. “But as far back as I can remember was when I was 4.”
Hamilton said he has finished in the top five in fishing tournaments before but never won. He said he was just hoping to do well for his school Saturday.
“I (was) definitely going to be nervous, but I did my best,” he said. “I think it’s actually pretty awesome that me personally and two of my classmates get to represent the whole school.”
Hamilton hopes to keep his competitive fishing career going in the future.
“It’s something about when you stick that fish, and it’s adrenaline. It’s awesome,” he said.
Monterey High School freshman Josh Burley was one of the youngest competitors in the event, and he said he was just happy to fish and represent his school.
Burley also enjoys calf roping, and he said fishing in the tournament is just another way for him to compete outdoors.
“I prefer rodeo, but fishing is just another thing I like doing,” he said.
Ferriday High School won the team event with a six-man total of 30.95 pounds — the high school anglers’ fish were added to the total of the pro they fished with for the team totals. Adams County Christian School finished second and Monterey finished third.
Steven Simpson of Monterey won the individual award — and the $300 prize with a total of 7.01 pounds.