Franklin County High School wins first fishing state championship
NATCHEZ — Imagining a more dramatic finish to Franklin County’s first state championship in fishing would be a pressing matter, especially when you add the headline — first state championship in fishing.
Last April, Franklin County junior Connor Quin and sophomore Bryce White brought a five-bass limit to the scale that weighed 14 pounds, five ounces to win the 2014 Mississippi State High School Fishing Championship on Ross Barnett Reservoir. Quin and Bryce beat out Magnolia Heights High School by two pounds, and if not for a late catch, their championship status could have been altered.
“About 20 minutes left to fish, I caught a 4-pounder, and that gave us the win,” White said.
Nervous about the outcome, White and Quin stepped on stage, awaiting their fate. Once they found out the weight of the other 19 competing schools, each quietly celebrated.
“We got up on the stage and realized that the leading weight was about 12 pounds, and we thought we had about 15 pounds,” Quin said. “We kind of knew we had it in the bag when we weighed in.”
With the climactic victory, Quin and White went down in the Franklin County record book as the first state championship team. Perhaps the most intriguing part of it was that the fishing team is just two years from inception.
“It’s pretty surreal,” White said. “To win the state championship when we’ve only been around for that long was a big deal.”
Professional boater Jody Herring accompanied the two-man team as their boat captain. As tempted as he was to help either White or Quin out, he refrained from doing so.
“They wouldn’t let us do anything to help them,” Herring said. “Best thing they told us was don’t even pick up a rod. The two boys did all of the work. They did everything but drive the boat.”
Today, the soon-to-be senior and junior are preparing for future scholarship opportunities and national tournament berths. Next on their radar is a 2014 High School Fishing World Finals July 15 in Arkansas.
There, the two will compete to win a scholarship to Bethel University.
“It’s a pretty healthy scholarship,” Quin said.
Anybody can compete in the event, but the same can’t be said about the Southeastern High School Fishing Conference Championship. Quin and White will represent Mississippi in Tennessee on Sept. 28. Should Franklin County finish in the top 10 percent of the tournament, they will advance to the High School Fishing National Championship next spring.
Until then, research on the lakes, map observations, traveling and lots and lots of fishing will be transpiring.
Quin said he and White plan on traveling to Arkansas a week and a half early to begin fishing the lakes. And though it serves a purpose, Quin admitted its yet another great excuse to get back on the boat and do what he loves doing most — fish.
“I’ll fish in any body of water I can get into,” Quin said.