Lilly McGuire knows how to handle a rod and reel.
The 11-year-old girl from LaGrange is also adept at catching fish. And why not? After all, West Point Lake is practically in her backyard. McGuire was back in the boat and on the lake on Sunday in the West Point Kids Extreme Tournament.
“I got a few bites. I got hot and tired. I caught some fish, and it was hard work,” said McGuire.
She fished with Dusty Thomas, and they caught three spotted bass and two largemouth. McGuire and Thomas were one of 15 teams on the lake in the annual tournament.
Nine-year-old Mason Graham of Sharpsburg was catching and soaking up the outdoors atmosphere, too. Graham was fishing with his father, Shane. The father and son hooked up five largemouth and spotted bass.
“We were having fun and concentrating. I was just hanging out with my daddy, and the fish were biting,” said Mason Graham, who caught one largemouth and one spotted bass.
The Graham fishing team was reeling in bass in six to eight feet of water. Trent Hammock came up with something, too – a 2.13-pound largemouth bass.
“He took off. A fisherman needs strategy and technique,” said Hammock, who kept his fish on the hook.
Pretty soon that bass was in the boat. Hammock fished with his uncle, Jamie Fountain of Douglasville.
The LaGrange fishing teams ran into some bass as well. Trayton and Brian Gay finished second with eight pounds of bass. Trayton Gay was the youth angler on board. He hooked into a 2.8-pound bass.
“This was fun, and I was fishing shallow. It was hard. This is fishing,” said the 12year-old Trayton Gay.
The LaGrange team of Will Noles and Torre Pike pulled in third place with 7.12 pounds of fish. There were 15 young faces in the tournament, which was hosted by Highland Marina Resort.
“The kids love it, and they get excited. This is my favorite tournament because of the kids,” said Mark Biagotti, the director of the tourney. “Everyone weighed in fish. The kids just wanted to go fishing.”
Topping the field and the tournament was the Newnan team of Jonathon Jarrard and Jeff Morgan. They weighed in four spotted bass and one largemouth. The winning weight was 9.12 pounds.
“We lost two more big ones. The weather was good. This was competition, and I love the sport (of fishing). We were using spinnerbaits,” said the 14-year-old Jarrard.
Morgan provided some adult supervision. He also caught the biggest bass in the tournament, a 5.5-pounder. “I went shallow. I threw my buzzbait as far as I could, and she decided to eat it. The fish rolled,” said Morgan.
He caught the largemouth in a matter of fishing minutes. It was a tasty catch, but the fish was released after being weighed in at Highland Marina Resort.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer