BANGOR CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Using some of the same baits they use back home on the Tennessee River, the lady angler team of Lainie Holbert and Sarah Swindle from the Riverside Junior Bass Team caught 14 pounds, 2 ounces of largemouth and earned the victory at the Mossy Oak Bassmaster Junior Series on Saginaw Bay.
Holbert and Swindle’s bag was anchored by a 3-3 largemouth that earned them Big Bass honors and a $100 bonus.
“It is very exciting,” Holbert said. “I’ve always wanted to win one of these because you get this cool trophy and stand up on that stage. It is awesome.”
Swindle added that while holding the trophy is awesome, she and Holbert continue to prove that lady anglers can fish just as well, if not better, than the boys.
“It is amazing. Walking across that stage and seeing everyone,” Swindle said “And being girls is the best part. You can show that girls can do the same as boys. They are all just staring at you, and we are like, ‘We got fish just like you do.’ It’s awesome.”
Though their day started slowly, they said they caught close to 60 bass. Holbert said they caught their fish around grass in shallow areas of Saginaw Bay.
“We started flipping jigs and throwing Pop-Rs and they started blowing up,” Holbert said. “We went to our next spot and it got a little rough, but it was manageable. They started blowing up and they were all in the grass.”
Although Kentucky Lake can get rough, Swindle said Saginaw Bay was an intimidating fishery.
“You just look across and you can’t see land. It’s like the ocean and a little scary honestly,” she said.
The trophy will sit between the other victories and second-place finishes the duo has had this season around their home waters of Kentucky Lake and Pickwick Lake.
Kurt Holbert, boat captain and Lainie’s father, said he has been impressed with the drive the team has shown throughout the season.
“Their determination to win is unbelievable,” Kurt said. “To stay at it all the time. There is no telling the tournaments they’ve won where they have caught the last big fish 20 minutes before weigh-in. They fish hard all day. It was an awesome trip.”
With the win, Swindle and Holbert qualify for the 2021 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Junior National Championship at the Carroll County 1000 Acre Recreational Lake in Huntingdon, Tenn., not far from their hometown of Decaturville.
The tournament was hosted by Bangor Charter Township in partnership with Great Lakes Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation.