LAFALLETTE, Tenn. — It took a while for Trevor St. John to get into bass fishing, but once he did, the 15-year-old angler became an instant sensation.
“My dad has always liked to bass fish, and our high school started a team when I was a freshman, so he wanted me to get into it,” said St. John.
“He thought that would be a pretty good way for us to bond. So he really got me into it.”
Even though he has only been bass fishing for two years, St. John — alongside his partner, Craig Wilson — has won four tournaments and recorded 15 Top 10 finishes while competing for the Campbell County Comprehensive High School team.
He and Wilson won the 2014 Bass Pro Shops High School Challenge on Cherokee Lake and then won the inaugural 2014 Bass Pro Shops High School Classic on Douglas Lake. The pair also took second and earned big bass honors the following year in the 2015 Bass Pro Shops High School Classic on Douglas Lake.
St. John and Wilson competed at the national level this year when they finished sixth in the 2015 Bassmaster High School Classic Exhibition at Lake Keowee.
"Craig has been a great fishing partner, and his dad, DeWayne Wilson, has also taught me a lot and made me a better fisherman," said St. John.
Also helping develop St. John’s bass fishing skills is Gabe Keen, the Campbell County High fishing coach who caught the Tennessee state record largemouth weighing 15 pounds, 2 ounces.
Keen describes St. John as a fast learner who loves the sport.
“He works hard at it,” Keen said. “When he goes fishing, a lot of times he is not just fishing but he is working on stuff. We talk a lot about fishing in the classroom and watch a lot of videos and he asks a bunch of questions. Then he will take that information and go out on the water and, instead of just throwing a crankbait all day or something easy like that, he will pitch a Senko or will work on other stuff.”
St. John's early successes on the tournament trail have elevated him to a leadership role on his high school team.
“Even though he is just a sophomore, a lot of the other kids look up to him because he’s had so much success,” Keen said. “Any time we have an interview with the press or a TV station, he is one of the first ones to volunteer to step out and talk for us.”
Making the Bassmaster High School All-State Team for Tennessee is another highlight in St. John’s short stint in bass fishing.
“It is really, really awesome,” St. John said of the honor. “It just shows me how much I have accomplished so far. It is really an honor to have that title with Bassmaster because B.A.S.S. is the biggest organization in fishing.”
St. John said he hopes his tournament successes will help him land a scholarship from a college fishing team.
“I would like to fish in college and have success in that, especially in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, and then maybe go pro,” he said.
While in college, he plans to study physical therapy in case he needs a backup career plan.