Travis’s Last Cast Nets Winner for Rhea County Anglers

David Derlak and will Travis hold their plaques and scholarship check for their first place finish at the Grasshopper Fishing Tournament near Sale Creek on Saturday.(Photo:BrianDerlak)

Derlak and Travis pull in First Place for Rhea County High School

November 10, 2018

Birchwood, TN — The Rhea County High School Eagle Anglers participated in their 3rd Southeast Tennessee High School event on Lake Chickamauga on November 10. The weather was extremely tough on the anglers. The temperatures were in the low 30’s with a strong north wind blowing from 10 to 20 mph.  There were 110 teams that registered to fish from 30 different schools.  “I knew that the weather would play a huge factor in catching fish on Saturday.

Any time we get a major weather front, it always affects the way the fish bite.  I told the guys that our opportunities would be few and far between and they needed to capitalize on every bite.”

Fishing in cold weather can play a big part in the mental aspect of being on the water and we made sure that all of the kids dressed for the cold weather. Layers of clothing and Hot Hands are life savers on brutally cold days.”

There were only 44 teams that weighed in fish and only two from the Rhea County team. Brandon Iles and Noah Varner brought two fish to scales for a weight of 3.95 to earn 21st place.  Their story is just one of numerous tales of the one that got away.

Brandon said “It was a rough day and we dealt with mechanical issues all day long.  We caught fish all day, but all were short fish except for the two that we weighed in.”

David Derlak and Will Travis had a slow start to their day and only had 4 little keepers at 1:30.  Will had figured out that slower was definitely better.

Will said, “The rig and spinner baits were what we had confidence in had caught them in practice, but the fish would have no part of those baits on Saturday.”

Jigs and worms would be the key to David and Will’s success.  At 1:30, David set the hook and caught a 6.33 pounder which gave them a limit. They fished that spot for another 30 minutes without a bite so we moved to our final spot.  It was 2:55 and time to go in when I told the boys that they had time for one more cast.  Will caught his 6.77 pounder on the last cast. On the last cast!  We now had a chance to win.

David and Will weighed in five fish with 15.88 pound weight,  which was good enough to win 1st place and bring home scholarship money.  This was a very unexpected experience for me for sure. To hit a 3 pointer at the buzzer or hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs is about the only analogy that I can use.  This is why you play the game until it ends is the moral of the story.  We had goals coming into this season.  Have fun, improve your skills, try new techniques, encourage each other, but winning was never discussed.

Kudos to the Tennessee High School and Juniors Bass Nation, the Southeast Tennessee High School Bass Trail, all of our trail sponsors, and all of local sponsors that support youth fishing.

Brian Derlak

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