Thirty-six bass brothers
By Camryn Carnes
It was late August when Granbury High School (GHS) Bass Club called for the first meeting. I have been bass fishing for years but for some reason I was nervous. Maybe it was the fact I would be fishing next to students I see every day or the fact that I would be representing our high school. Either way, I was nervous.
I walked down the hall and two anglers stood next to the lecture hall door greeting students. The student holding the door greeted me first and asked if I was looking for someone. I kind of laughed it off and said I’m here for the meeting. The other angler laughed it off as well and said he was sorry. They have never had a girl that was there to fish.
I continued inside to sign in and take my seat. Much to my surprise another female angler came through the door and grabbed a membership paper. Mikayla Hamilton had never fished from a boat. She loved to fish but was locked to bank fishing. She had also just broken her leg in a horse riding accident so the tournament would be interesting with her fishing on crutches. After exchanging numbers, we communicated and decided we would fish together for the 2017-18 season. Mikayla is a junior at GHS and her passion is band. With her schedule I knew there would be times I would fish solo.
Mikayla came to our house and loaded her gear on our boat on Sept. 22 of last year. The next day was tournament day and we went to bed early. It was probably around 3 a.m. when our captain, AKA Dad, made his way down the stairs. Within just a few minutes we were dressed and heading out the door.
I tried to sleep on the car drive but I was excited and just never could sleep. My mind was in a war with baits, setups, water clarity and temps.
We missed our exit and had to take a detour so it added to the stress. I remember pulling into a gas station so we could go in and get snacks, then it hit me. This is it, we are really fishing for Granbury High School. Competing as an angler is always fun but with this style tournament I was more worried about representing our school and being an asset to the bass club more than self-reward.
I remember backing down a small ramp and thinking to myself it’s so dark, I can’t see anything. Too late now, the boat was launched and navigational lights had a soft glow in the crowded ramp we had found. My stomach turned knowing I would need to navigate through these boats back to the dock to pick up our captain who had just parked the trailer. It didn’t take long for another captain to tell his team to grab her boat and get her next to us so they can load. Wow, to my surprise everyone was there to help. I’ve done this a hundred times but it was different for some reason.
Once my captain loaded the boat we adjusted Mikayla’s crutches and strapped them down to the front deck. A few comments were made about our choice for push poles and shallow water anchors, but it was all in fun. The countdown to the first cast seemed to make the clock tick slower than normal. With rods in hand it was time. I pulled the first fish in, then Mikayla hooked up and the weight on our shoulders was lifted and laughter began. That first two fish flipped the switch and put me back into tournament mode. We ended up catching a lot of short fish and finished with two in the live well.
We returned to the weigh-in site where members of our school and other schools pointed us in the right direction for bags, courtesy ruler, and the line to weigh. Walking across the stage was a blur. I tried to help Mikayla with her crutches as the scale flashed numbers and even though we didn’t have a great bag I knew we had two and we would contribute to the school rankings. If it wasn’t for the pictures our school took I may have never remembered it.
After we released our fish we were greeted by the booster club. They had set up a canopy with snacks, drinks and chairs surrounding the area. The GHS Bass Club Anglers discussed the day’s events and spoke with us about how we caught our fish. It was great, the atmosphere I have experienced at tournaments before with my dad was the exact same with these high school anglers.
Bass Fishing is a humbling sport and true anglers know it can be won by anyone regardless of financial status, race or gender. I may be a girl on the GHS Bass Team and that’s okay. I also have 36 brothers, not by blood but by my bass fishing club.