PIPPA PASSES, Ky (WYMT) - The Alice Lloyd Fishing Team, while small in size, is making a big splash on the competitive fishing scene. They've competed in numerous tournaments against Division I schools such as Kentucky, Louisville and Tennessee and even placed second in one the events, but their story goes much deeper than competitive fishing.
Meet Michael Watts and Caleb Baker, the two competing members of the Alice Lloyd Fishing Team.
"We are basically a club, a school organization and we started that in 2010 and that morphed into a competitive fishing team, so what we do with that is we travel all across the eastern half of the United States and we fish competitively in bass tournaments against every school in any sanctioned NCAA school from D1 down to NAIA schools like ourselves." Said recent ALC Graduate Michael Watts.
The two aren't just teammates sharing a boat, they've been friends since they were young.
"I've known Caleb since I was about 10 years old we were water boys together for Whitesburg High School, that's not even a high school anymore if that puts a date on us. We've known each other a long time," remembers Watts.
It's even longer than that since they first had a fishing pole put in their hands.
Caleb Baker tries to remember first learning to fish, "To tell you the truth I can't even remember when I started. I was just a young, young boy. I was with my dad and his dad."
Baker goes on to say, "I care about this sport so much because it's such a challenge. You go out there and everyday is different. These fish, they move all the time and it's such a challenge to find them and be able to find a pattern and put something together and on the other hand you're just spending time with people you care about, people you enjoy to have around, I just love everything about it."
The duo has participated in countless fishing tournaments, competed against the nation's top talent, and successfully put the Alice Lloyd Anglers on the the college fishing map. Both Caleb and Michael agree, at first they were a little intimidated.
"We're at a huge disadvantage because of our small school size and our small club size. When you go to weigh your fish in front of these big schools with 20,000 students and we don't even 20,000 people in our town we're from, it really justifying feeling, you take a real since of pride in it." Said Watts.
No matter the how big the tournament is, they know at the end of the day, they're just two friends from Letcher County sitting on a boat, bonding over the sport they both love.
"You just get to get away from everything that stresses you out for the week.leave it at the ramp, leave everything at the ramp."