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Home > Blog > Colorado Youth Contenders Compete at National Championships

Colorado Youth Contenders Compete at National Championships

Posted by nation on September 5, 2015

IMG_6374 Another nice one for Cook and Galloway at the 2015 BASS HS Champ..jpg     At the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship Tournament at Kentucky Lake, Tennessee, the Colorado BASS Nation was represented by two High School teams: Grayson Cook teamed with Bryson Galloway, and Ryan Wood teamed with Turner Mason.  Meanwhile, at nearby Carrol County Thousand Acre Lake, the BASS Youth Nation Junior Championship was held and attended by Brady Brennan and Ethan Foster.

Pic: Another nice bass for Cook and Galloway at the

2015 BASS HS Championship at Kentucky Lake, TN.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Cook.

     Competing locally, high school and youth teams from across the nation qualified to represent their home state at these events, with $94,000 in prizes and scholarships on the line. 

     The High School Championship event was conducted at Paris Landing State Park, TN from July 22-25, 2015.  All 134 teams fished the first two days and then the top 12 make the cut to have a final 3rd day of tournament fishing.

IMG_2010 On stage with Team Galloway and Cook, with Coach Mark Cook at the 2015 BASS HS Champ..jpg

     The top finishing team from Colorado was Grayson Cook and Bryson Galloway, from Windsor High School.  Cook and Galloway boated three keeper bass on day one to bring in 9 lbs. 13 oz., and a limit on day two weighing 13-14 for a Final Total of 23-11, putting them at 22nd place overall.  “We had a blast,” said Cook, adding that they were, “a little nervous the first day but got past it.”  Cook reports that their best patterns included using a Zara Spook in two different locations, one with a 10 ft. channel and the other with a 6 ft. channel, both with hydrilla, which he says was key, and that they got their 4 largest fish there.  They also found 4 ledges with bass that they landed fish using a plastic worm or crankbait.  “We caught around 40 bass in our two days on Kentucky,” Cook says, “and lost three bass the first day that any two would have gotten us to the top 10 and the last round.”

Pic: On stage with Team Galloway and Cook,

with Coach Mark Cook. Photo courtesy of Mark Cook

     Cook expressed no regrets, though.  “It was a great experience and we are looking forward to continuing to learn different techniques, learning to pattern bass, and more importantly, quality bass.  We both are finishing high school this year, so our immediate goal is us winning State on Horsetooth Reservoir so we can get back to Nationals and build on the experience we got from fishing this year.”

IMG_2043 Galloway and Cook in action at the 2015 BASS HS Champ..jpg     Grayson credits his father for teaching him so much about bass fishing.  “I want to thank my Dad.  He’s bass fished his whole life and he has taught me so much already.  He taught me that being good at catching bass and being a real [tournament] bass fisherman are two different things.  Locating and patterning the size fish you need to compete is completely different than just going out and catching a few bass.  He’s my best friend and we are so lucky to have him teaching us.”

Pic. Galloway and Cook in action. Courtesy of Mark Cook

     Bryson Galloway added a few comments of his own, saying that bass fishing is his favorite thing to do and he hopes to be a professional angler in the future.  At this National Championship Tournament, Bryson says, “I’m proud of how we handled it.”  He hopes to return again next year.  “I appreciate BASS and what they are doing for us at this age to prepare us for the future.”

     HS Angler Coach Mark Cook stated, “It has been a pleasure working with these two young men. Their love for fishing and how they conduct themselves as people makes every second spent with them fantastic. Not only can they catch fish. They are great kids.

Ryan Wood, Turner Mason and Coach Chad LaChance at 2015 BASS HS Nationals.jpg

     Despite their efforts, the team of Ryan Wood and Turner Mason did not find keeper size bass to bring into the weigh-ins, putting them at the end of the field with 17 other teams who blanked.  Commenting together, from the road, they said, “We didn't have the week we wanted at Kentucky Lake but it was still a great learning experience.”  Coming off a high finish at last year’s event, the team felt they needed to fish shallow, but also wanted to find some deeper ledges to hit during the event, saying “We found several fish in our shallow spots… so we felt good about that pattern.  Instead of continuing to refine our shallow pattern, we also looked for nearby ledges that might still be holding fish.  In hindsight, we spent too much practice time looking at main lake ledges without much success.”

Pic:  Ryan Wood, Turner Mason and Coach Chad LaChance.

Photo Courtesy of Kim Wood.

     Trying to rebound from the first day of competition, the team decided to move north and fish the ledges that had worked for them before, “We knew this was a long shot, but we also thought it was the only way to possibly get back into the cut.  Needless to say, our instincts were correct and those spots were already vacated.”

     Though frustrated with the results, Team Wood and Mason stated, “our coach Chad LaChance was amazing and taught us more than we could have ever imagined about all aspects of tournament fishing.  Even with our poor result, he made sure we didn’t hang our heads, but looked for all of the lessons we could learn from this experience.  We can’t thank Chad and our parents enough for everything they did to give us this opportunity.  We also want to thank Colorado Bass Nation and the Denver Bassmasters for all of their support throughout the year.

     Watch for this team again as they are looking for the chance to redeem themselves next year.

     The Colorado BASS Nation congratulates the winning team of Alex Heintze-Justin Watts, from Louisiana’s Livingston Parish Bassmasters.  Kentucky Lake is well known for offshore ledge fishing, but the winners used their strengths to capture the title, fishing frogs and tubes in shallow water for a 20 lb.-plus limit each day and weighing in a total of 66 lbs.


BASS Junior Bassmaster Championship

     The BASS Junior Bass Clubs held their National Championship in conjunction with the High School Championship.  The fished July 24-25, 2015 at Carroll County’s Thousand Acre Recreational Lake in Huntingdon, TN.  There were 26 teams representing 26 states, including Ethan Foster and Brady Brennan from the Denver Bassmasters.

     By all accounts it was a tough two days on the lake with the winning team drawing a blank on Day One but finishing strong on Day 2.  Team Foster and Brennan landed in 14th Place at the final with their only keeper at 0-12.

     Ethan answered a few questions about his National Championship tournament experience.  The Thornton 8th grader says, “I have been fishing for as long as I can remember, and there is nothing I would rather be doing.  I fish every chance I get; I even went early in the morning on the first day of school.”

     “To have the opportunity to compete nationally and represent my home state of Colorado was something I will always remember,” Ethan says.  “Not only did I get to see some of the biggest fish in my life, but also got to meet an amazing mentor, Steve Orzechowski.  Competing against the nation’s top Juniors was exciting, and even more so knowing I was one of them.  Not only did I get to compete, I learned a lot.  In the end, I placed 14th, and will be proud of this accomplishment for the rest of my life.”

   To get ready for the big tournament, Ethan tried to do his research, “but with the lake being fairly new, I couldn’t find hardly any information.”  But help appeared when a boater stepped-up.  “When Steve O. agreed to be our boater, I called him to see what I would need for the tournament.  I went to Bass Pro and got all my gear and spent hours organizing all my tackle and setting up my rods.”  At the tournament he said, “I used many different kinds of lures, but the only one that caught a tournament size fish was a Norman Lures NXS in the tropical shad color.”

     And what does the future hold for Ethan Foster?  “Next year one of my best friends and I plan on taking over the Front Range Fishing Club that Ryan Wood, the Jr. Bassmaster World Champion of 2013, started.  Ryan is not only a mentor, but we are honored to follow in his footsteps.  I would like to attend college to major in Aquaculture and minor in Wildlife Biology.  I love being surrounded by the outdoors and hope that my career will involve fishing.  I would love to become a professional angler when I’m older.” 

     Look out Colorado anglers, and the rest of the world, too.  Colorado Champion Ryan Wood has proven to be an excellent competitor and it looks like he’s helping bring a new crop of young anglers with the skills and desire to follow him to the top.


IMG958604 Bryson Galloway at the 2015 BASS HS Champ..jpgIMG_1968 Grayson Cook with a nice fish at the 2015 BASS HS Champ..jpgPic: Bryson Galloway.

Courtesy of Mark Cook

Pic: Grayson Cook.

Courtesy of Mark Cook






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Article by: Jeff Jones