Oacoma, S.D.—Alexander Datz has an opportunity to join an elite group of young anglers this week during the B.A.S.S. Nation Junior Bassmaster Northern Divisional at Francis Case Lake.
Datz won the 11- to 14-year-old age group in last year’s divisional on the Mississippi River, and he can become one of the few Junior Bassmasters to win back-to-back division titles if he can once again top the field of 11- to 14-year-olds at Francis Case. The Boat Boys Junior Club member believes winning the divisional last year has given him confidence and a slight advantage to win this year’s event, but Datz knows he will still have to work hard to repeat. “I still think it is open for anybody to win,” Datz said.
Last year Datz won the divisional by catching largemouth bass on his homemade jigs, which he does frequently back home. He will have to target smallmouth at Francis Case, and he does have some experience catching brown bass. “I won my second tournament to qualify for the divisional on a smallmouth lake,” Datz said.
The Ohio teen practiced yesterday and caught one smallmouth. “I really wasn’t hitting the spots I had found fish on before,” he said. “I was just trying some new spots.”
Datz credits the Junior Bassmasters program in helping him develop the skills to go undefeated in his two club tournaments this year. “I learned to be able to switch when I need to and also slow down,” he said. “I used the Carolina rig more this year and got better at pitching.”
The young angler has also refined his lure-making skills and plans on selling his homemade jigs under the title of ADD Lures. He also pours his own plastic tubes, lizards and creature baits in a variety of colors.
The juniors and their boat captains will take off for their day on the water after the adult Northern Divisional anglers launch Friday morning at Cedar Shore Resort.