YOUNG LEADERS by Sara Coleman photo courtesy of Tom Bramhall
Lures, Lake Norman, and Lifelong Memories Two cousins compete in bass fishing tournaments across North Carolina Calling the Lake Norman area home means a prime fishing spot is right at your fingertips, and 14-year-old Luke Bramhall and his 15-year-old cousin Jack Smith certainly take advantage of this. The two middle-schoolers have fished along Lake Norman their entire lives together and now are making waves as a team participating in bass fishing tournaments across North Carolina. The fishing duo recently won 1st place in the Junior Division and 3rd largest bag out of 60 boats for the North Carolina Bass Fishing Nation tournament, and all indications are this is only the beginning. For Luke, his love of fishing began at age 3 when he caught a sunfish on a pink rooster tail with his dad. He wasn’t interested in other sports growing up—he only wanted to fish. It quickly grew into a passion for bass fishing and competitive venture, which then led to a desire to join local fishing competitions. Jack was introduced to fishing from his Grandpa but didn’t take up competitions until his cousin Luke asked him to be his fishing partner. Bass fishing “involves skill and a lot of different techniques,” according to Luke. And as he and Jack have learned, there is major strategy involved in preparing for the tournaments. Beforehand, 28
LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS | MAY 2021
they research the structure of the lake, how deep the water is, and where the deepest point is located. Water temperature is another important consideration, as well as weather, air temperature, barometric pressure, and trying to find where the fish are positioned. Once you have the information, then you pattern the fish on practice day to find the best spots. Since neither Jack nor Luke’s middle schools have a bass fishing team, they partnered with Charlotte-based not-for-profit organization, Riley’s Catch, to enroll in tournaments and fishing team events. Riley’s Catch helps youth get involved with fishing competitions across the Southeast, no matter where they go to school, while also focusing on building stronger character, minds, and bodies for students. A bonus to participating in tournaments is Luke’s dad, Tom Bramhall, is the boat Captain, making it a true family affair as well as a challenging competition. Luke and Jack aspire to be a part of a high school team, or maybe a college team one day, but no matter where the bass fishing competitions take them, it is guaranteed to be a bond the two cousins share for a lifetime.