North Forsyth made quite a statement in its first year of competitive fishing.
The Raiders took first and second place in the Georgia High School Fishing State Championship, which was held May 4-5 on Lake Lanier.
Juniors Branson Marks and Luke Slaton, captained by Paul Marks, claimed the state title with a combined 19 pounds and 11 ounces.
Cole Cloud and Bo Kelentic, captained by North coach Scott Beard, took second place with a combined 17 pounds and one ounce.
Captains are adults who are allowed only to drive the boat and not fish. Each team must catch bass and can bring up to five fish at the weigh-in.
The tournament field featured 34 teams.
“The kids went out and did a real good job,” Beard said. “They’ve spent a lot of time on the water and capitalized on the fish they got.
“I thought we’d do well. The kids fish a lot, but for us to go one-two was great.”
The duo’s plan was for Slaton to go after the smaller bass to get their numbers high, while Marks sought larger bass.
Neither fisherman could remember the exact number they caught, but estimated it was about 40.
“We’d practiced a lot before, so that helped,” Marks said. “I’ve lived here all my life and fished there, so we had a little bit of an advantage. But we didn’t have a secret spot or anything like that.
“We basically just followed the fish and stuck to our plan and by the end of the day, it all worked out.”
Added Slaton: “We thought we’d be up there [with the leaders], but when we saw the other team had 17 [pounds] and we had 19, I thought we might have this.”
With the win, Marks and Slaton qualified for the Southeastern region finals in October, where they will compete against winners from nine states.
“We are very excited for our student anglers,” North athletic director Nathan Turner said in a statement. “They take the sport very seriously and did a tremendous job battling the weather conditions. They represented North Forsyth very well.
“We are also excited to see this sport grow more and more each year … We look forward to seeing Branson and Luke compete in the Southeastern regionals later this year, and hope to come back next year and defend as state champions.”