Local Teen Reeling In Competition On National Level

IMG_4512Long before most of us are getting our morning routine started, in the dawn of the day, 16-year-old Garrett Bartlett has already been hard at work, hitting the lake.

Growing up on the Holsten and French Broad Rivers for as long as he can remember, Garett started fishing with friends and neighbors. Showing a love and talent for a sport, he began competing between 7th and 8th grade. With the help of family friends like Steve Bean, he started competing on the national level going into high school. After hard work on the family farm and the family business, Bartlett Construction, along with help from family, Garrett was able to get a bass boat. Now, going into his junior year of high school, Garett is a big deal on the High School Tournament Trail.Image-1

As a freshman, Garrett and his fishing partner were able to compete in two high school series. With a second place finish on Cherokee Lake, and placing consistently in other tournaments, they were able to compete in two invitation only tournaments and win. Their record earned them a spot in the Bassmaster High School Nationals on Kentucky Lake. In the nationally covered event, featuring representatives from 48 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, the duo placed 88th.

As a sophomore, Garrett and his fishing partner, Henry Bryan, created B and B Fishing to be able to compete even more. The pair have been IMG_5361fishing in the High School Next Generation Series, Bass Pro Series, and FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) events. So far this season, Garett and Henry qualified once again for the Bassmaster High School Nationals, as well as qualified for the FLW National on Pickwick Lake, Florence, Alabama, which was a few weeks ago. While at Pickwick, they competed against 384 other teams. In the qualifiers, which would narrow the hundreds of teams down to ten, B and B Fishing caught their five fish limit for each day. Within the first couple days, the duo had already caught 32 pounds, seven ounces, which would put them in 8th place for qualifying. The pair finished the Nationals in 7th, which qualified them to compete in the World Final.

The World Final was described by one of the announcers as the, “most grueling fishing event that the FLW puts on.” Because of the long days in 100 degree heat, the World Final lived up to its name, which is said to be more grueling than most of the pro and college series tournaments. Garrett and Henry rose up to the challenge and, as sophomores, finished 22nd in the World Final.

IMG_4997 (1)In addition to high school tournaments, both boys are also competitive in adult tournaments, and are proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Garrett has competed in the Children’s Miracle Network Tournament with friend Steve Bean, winning year before last, and placing second last year.

“I couldn’t do without my family support. The whole family comes out to these tournaments”.

When not competing, Garrett enjoys still being on the water. He loves riding jet skis, water skiing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Not only does he play hard, he works hard. Not only does he work for the family business, he also works on the family farm, and has this little thing called “school” he has to keep up with. He is currently homeschooled and keeps his grades up so he can keep fishing. Competitive fishing has a brutal schedule, so Garrett is one busy young man.

After high school, Garrett would love to compete on the college circuit. So far, there has been some small talk with scouts, but no formal offers have been made. He does want to earn a good college degree and hopefully go pro.

“The boys work really hard at this sport. They fish when temperatures are freezing, through snow and rain, and the heat,” Garrett’s father, Dennis Bartlett said. “This sport teaches them to hang in there during tough days, teaches them patience, and the importance of family support.”

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Source: Angie Stanley, Staff Writer, Jefferson County Post Sports