In what could be the most hotly contested Junior Bassmaster World Championship ever, Alex Wetherell and Chris Catucci, both from the Eastern Division, captured Junior World Championship titles. The juniors fished on Cross Lake, just west of Red River South Marina, the site of the 2010 BASS Federation Nation Championship presented by Skeeter and Yamaha.
Two age groups, ages 11-14 and 15-18, fished it out to crown two new Bassmaster Junior World champions.
In what was widely regarded as a tough day of fishing, Chris Catucci, of Warwick, R.I., managed a 5-pound, 12-ounce stringer, the heaviest in the 11-14 age group.
For his win, Catucci earned a $5,000 scholarship. "It feels amazing," Catucci said. "Going in, I didn't think I had enough because I had to beat 5-11, so it was interesting. It's crazy." Catucci is the second angler from Warwick, R.I., to win the Junior Bassmaster World Championship. Scott Gettys, also from Warwick, has won the JWC. Catucci caught both of his fish on a Rebel Pop-R. Oddly enough, he only caught two fish in the Eastern Divisional, both on a Pop-R in the morning, the exact same tactic he employed on Cross Lake in the Championship.
"I won by a lot more than an ounce there, though," he added. In the 15-18 age group, Alex Wetherell of Middletown, Conn., sacked 4 pounds, 5 ounces worth of Cross Lake bass and earned $5,000 in scholarship funds. "This is unbelievable, it really is," he said.
"Both Chris and I didn't think we were going to win, but it happened. "Earlier this year, I was reading Bassmaster Magazine and looking at last year's JWC winners thinking that it would be cool to win a state tournament. And then you win a divisional, then you're at the Championship and you think this could really happen."
Wetherell won by a mere 2 ounces, the same margin he won by in the Eastern divisional in his age group. "That dead fish made it interesting (Wetherell had 4-13, but a dead fish penalty knocked him down to 4-05), but I guess I like to do it by 2 ounces," he said.