It’s a rare feat when experience combines with youth to produce the utmost success. That doesn’t mean it never happens.
Upcoming high school sophomore Owen Moss and recent high school graduate Spencer Childers, of Pickens County High School in Jasper, recently won the Georgia BASS Nation State Championship at Lake Eufaula. Their next step is Kentucky Lake in Tennessee Aug. 2-4 for the Bassmaster High School Series National Championship. There will be around 290 to 320 teams expected to compete in the tournament.
Bo Page, their coach and a former UGA angler, is ecstatic for the boys and knows they’ll make a run in the national tournament.
“They’re two really good kids, and I’m really proud of them,” said Bo. “They didn’t have a lot of experience down on Eufaula but were able to put together two really good days.”
Spencer has been a part of the Pickens County High School’s Bass Team since the club started his sophomore year. He has been proven a major success from the start, winning the club’s Angler of the Year award for the past three years with three different partners and winning the state championship last year.
His life of fishing started long before the state championships and numerous angler awards.
“I’ve been fishing tournaments with my dad since I was 5 or 6,” said Spencer. “I’ve always fished public lakes. I’ve been carrying the boat out to Carters, Lanier, Chatuge and Blue Ridge for the past four years by myself.”
His partner from last year, Logan Millsaps, is currently fishing at Bethel College in McKenzie, Tenn. Spencer took his time in deciding what his future looked like and if it included fishing collegiately. After Bethel told Spencer they would like to have him on the team, he was more than ready.
“I didn’t think they were going to let me on there, but when they did, I was excited,” said Spencer. “I’ll get to fish with my partner from last year up there, too.”
Spencer not only won the state championship this year but also was nominated and chosen to fish the 2018 Bassmaster High School All-American tournament in Texas where he was paired with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mark Menendez. The pair ended up winning the Texas tournament, adding on to Spencer’s list of accomplishments.
Throughout the year, Spencer was able to share some of his fishing knowledge with Owen, a much newer angler coming into his freshman year. Owen showed many signs of success, despite the age gap.
“He’s a really fast learner, and he listens,” said Spencer. “He picked up on everything, and he’s gotten a lot better. A lot of stuff he had never heard of, and now he’s really good with it.”
Owen also caught the biggest fish of the two during the state tournament, showing that he will be more than ready next year as Spencer goes to college and Owen continues to make his mark in the club.
“Owen is on the basketball team, he’s on the baseball team,” said Bo. “A jack of all trades is a good way to describe him I guess. I know that he learned a lot from fishing with Spencer this year.”
The two have been family friends for quite some time but have not gotten the chance to constantly fish with each other until this year. Spencer was always fishing tournaments, and Owen did more fishing on the side. When the two finally teamed up, it was the perfect fit.
“He’s taught me a lot over the year,” said Owen. “We’ve definitely gotten a lot closer.”
Going to a national championship can seem intimidating to pretty much anyone, especially to someone who just finished their first year of high school. But after learning from Spencer all year and growing as much as he has, Owen will have no problem with the transition.
“Not a lot of freshmen have the opportunity to do that,” said Owen. “I think we have a pretty good chance.”
Spencer surely hopes to end his high school career with a national title and help Owen (or maybe the other way around) fight their way to the top.
Spencer and Owen will be joined by 13 other Georgia high-school teams Aug. 2-4 at the national event. GA Bass Nation’s website has a list of those teams who qualified.