Boot camp awaits divisional competitor

TITUS, Ala. — Quentin Vercher, 18, graduated high school, competed as an adult in the Southern Divisional, and will start Marines boot camp, all in a period of less than two months.

The teen angler had mixed emotions about being the youngest competitor  — 17 at the time  — of all the adult teams in the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional.

“I was super excited,” said Vercher. “I was also really worried because I was hoping I would be able to pull my own weight since I was the youngest. When I found out I did, I was the happiest kid on the earth.” 

Vercher did his part to help the Alabama team win the Southern Divisional by finishing 27th overall with 15 bass weighing 30 pounds, 4 ounces. He also placed seventh on the 16-member Alabama squad, which also featured the oldest competitor in the divisional, 72-year-old Eulon Lee.

“I was satisfied with how I did each day, but I thought I could have done better,” recalled Vercher. “In practice I had better fish. I had about 15 pounds each day of practice but then the warm front came through that first day and everyone started catching fish. I felt like I did pretty well, though.”

Fishing has always been a passion for Vercher, who turned 18 this month. “I have been in a boat since I was in diapers,” he said. “My dad had me fishing since I could walk.”

When Karen Stewart formed the Central Alabama Junior Bassmasters club in 2007, Vercher was one of the club’s original members. “I love him just like a son,” said Stewart. “He is a very intelligent young man. He just excels in everything he does. He has always been good at fishing, but most of all he has been very passionate and dedicated.” She recalls Vercher has never missed any of the club’s canned food drives or the annual diabetes kids fishing events throughout his years in the junior club.

In his last year of the juniors program, Vercher made the junior state team and competed in the 2012 Southern Divisional. He finished 15th on the Alabama team with five bass weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces. This year, Vercher qualified for the Alabama state team as a member of the adult Central Alabama Bassmasters club.

Vercher’s fishing exploits in the B.A.S.S. Nation will come to an end in June when he joins the Marine Corps. While in the service, he plans to earn a bachelor’s degree and become an officer.

Although he is committed to a life of military service, Vercher sees a way he can keep fishing competitively. “We get 30 days paid leave, and I plan on using those paid days to fish tournaments like Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens wherever I am stationed,” he predicted. 

Bassmaster Opens competitors might have to watch out for this new member of “The Few, The Proud, The Marines.”