SCUGOG: Port Perry resident Mark Cavanaugh made history on Saturday, May 7, becoming the first member of the Port Perry Bassmasters to move on to the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
Mr. Cavanaugh finished the three day Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Regional fishing tournament in Tennessee on top of the leaderboard, ahead of competitors from 17 States as well as Ontario, Canada.
"It was pretty amazing. They are all really good anglers and professional fishermen so to beat them was pretty incredible for me,” Mr. Cavanaugh told The Standard.
The local angler finished the tournament with a total catch weight of 45 lbs., 3 oz. William Lortz II from New York finished second in the tournament and Jason Vaughn from Delaware placed third.
Each top placing boater and non-boater from the 17 states and Ontario that were competing in the tournament advanced to the Nation Championship that is being held in early October on Lake Conroe in Houston.
Mr. Cavanaugh said that it was “an honour” to be the first Port Perry Bassmaster to advance to the national tournament, but added that he “can't wait to get to the next level.”
He also told The Standard that what made the tournament challenging for him was the unfamiliarity with the lake.
"We had to travel to Tennessee and fish in a lake that was very different to us. We had to learn what the fish do in that lake , so there was a learning curve,” Mr. Cavanaugh said.
Before competiting, Mr. Cavanaugh researched the lake on-line and talked to other anglers who lived nearby.
“I was told that the bigger fish consistently live in the deep water. Luckily the information paid off and I found some deep fish,” he said.
Mr. Cavanaugh has been fishing competitively for about 20 years. He said that there are two elements of the sport that he truly enjoys.
“It's the camaraderie amongst the other anglers as well as the competitiveness. It does get serious at times, but it is fun.”
The winner of the Nation Championship will receive a berth in the Bassmasters Classic as well as being able to spend one year on the Bassmaster Elite Series Tour, fully paid for.