Carter and his partner, Paul Marks head to Lake Dhatuge in Georgia the weekend of Thanksgiving for the next stop on the Georgia Bass Nation tour. “It’s a points tournament and a qualifier for the Kentucky Lake National Bass Championship,” says Carter, who plans to stay in a camper and commute to and from school during the event. “If it stays cold, it will be a good deep brush pile bite,” he predicts. “It’ll Probably take 15 or 16 pounds of spots to win there.”
As for the 2020 High School National Championship next summer on the Mississippi River in La Crosse? “We have never been on the Mississippi,” says Carter, “so it will be a learning experience. But we’ll definitely spend some time up there and figure it out.”
As for Lee Rose’s goals, she wants her Carson-Newman team to finish this season in the top five in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year. “We ought to easily meet that. We’ve climbed from 66th place and are currently sitting in 11th,” says Koza, who has lofty personal aspirations, too. “My ultimate goal is to be successful working in the fishing industry. In addition to fishing and going to school full time, I work as an intern for the fishing PR firm, Traditions Media, and also help manage St. Croix Rod’s social media presence. I want to work on the media side of the industry after I graduate, so I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to be working with these great companies.”
Committed to the Cause
There’s been a buzz behind high school and college fishing since its inception in the mid-1990s. But recent backing from the nation’s largest professional tournament trails has transformed the sport, and sponsors have taken note of the youth movement. Today, many college bass programs have travel budgets for their players, allowances for rods, reels and tackle, and some even provide the use of modern bass boats. Nearly all of these products are donated or deeply discounted by manufacturers in the fishing market.
St Croix Rod is on the leading edge of providing support to high school and college bass angling. It sponsors both the Bassmaster and FLW college fishing programs.