High School: Southern Open launch

Here’s what 350 boats look like together. It’s 5:45 a.m., just prior to the start of the Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Here’s what 350 boats look like together. It’s 5:45 a.m., just prior to the start of the Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open.
The boats take off in 10 flights of about 35 each. The basin at Guntersville Harbor is protected from the wind and provides a staging area for the tournament.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The boats take off in 10 flights of about 35 each. The basin at Guntersville Harbor is protected from the wind and provides a staging area for the tournament.
Last-minute strategies are going on everywhere in the pre-dawn light. The teams have all of Lake Guntersville to fish. Tennessee is off limits.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Last-minute strategies are going on everywhere in the pre-dawn light. The teams have all of Lake Guntersville to fish. Tennessee is off limits.
The team from Athens High School tweaks a strategy. They plan to make a run up the river in the hopes of striking early.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The team from Athens High School tweaks a strategy. They plan to make a run up the river in the hopes of striking early.
The wind turns the pages of a clipboard with the names of 350 teams. The forecast calls for winds from the east at 10-15 mph.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The wind turns the pages of a clipboard with the names of 350 teams. The forecast calls for winds from the east at 10-15 mph.
All of the boats will pass through this checkpoint before venturing out onto Lake Guntersville.
Photo: Craig Lamb - All of the boats will pass through this checkpoint before venturing out onto Lake Guntersville.
The tournament is in SEC country, but there are no signs this boat is tied to Auburn University. It’s an all white boat with exception of the school’s chant written across the hull.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The tournament is in SEC country, but there are no signs this boat is tied to Auburn University. It’s an all white boat with exception of the school’s chant written across the hull.
The takeoff will take about two hours. Until then it’s all about getting ready for the day.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The takeoff will take about two hours. Until then it’s all about getting ready for the day.
The boats take off at 6 a.m. and returned in staggered flights.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The boats take off at 6 a.m. and returned in staggered flights.
The first flight returns at 2 p.m. and the final group checks in at 4:30 p.m.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The first flight returns at 2 p.m. and the final group checks in at 4:30 p.m.
The team from Cullman High School salutes the flag as the national anthem plays.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The team from Cullman High School salutes the flag as the national anthem plays.
Just about the entire first flight is lined up and ready for takeoff. It’s 6 a.m. and the first boat is leaving the dock.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Just about the entire first flight is lined up and ready for takeoff. It’s 6 a.m. and the first boat is leaving the dock.
Guntersville Harbor makes a good location for organizing 350 boats. The first flight is taking off and will return at 2 p.m.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Guntersville Harbor makes a good location for organizing 350 boats. The first flight is taking off and will return at 2 p.m.
Teams are from throughout the South and Midwest. The tournament sets a record for the number of participants in a B.A.S.S. event at 1,100.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Teams are from throughout the South and Midwest. The tournament sets a record for the number of participants in a B.A.S.S. event at 1,100.
Fans of the Beulah Bass Team cheer on the anglers. The team represents the high school in Beulah, Ala., not far from Dothan in south Alabama.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Fans of the Beulah Bass Team cheer on the anglers. The team represents the high school in Beulah, Ala., not far from Dothan in south Alabama.
This bridge stretches across Lake Guntersville and connects Guntersville with Huntsville, about 30 minutes away.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This bridge stretches across Lake Guntersville and connects Guntersville with Huntsville, about 30 minutes away.
Parents of the anglers gather at the harbor to watch the takeoff.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Parents of the anglers gather at the harbor to watch the takeoff.
This team in the first flight acknowledges their return time at 2 p.m.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This team in the first flight acknowledges their return time at 2 p.m.
The sun rises in the east with the Tennessee River in the foreground. The anglers travel toward the sun to access the lake.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The sun rises in the east with the Tennessee River in the foreground. The anglers travel toward the sun to access the lake.
Hank Weldon organizes the boats. Two synced sound systems are used so all 350 teams can hear the instructions.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Hank Weldon organizes the boats. Two synced sound systems are used so all 350 teams can hear the instructions.
The launch continues as the first flight leaves the dock.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The launch continues as the first flight leaves the dock.
At 6:18 a.m. the first flight is long gone. It only took about 6 minutes to go through the flight.
Photo: Craig Lamb - At 6:18 a.m. the first flight is long gone. It only took about 6 minutes to go through the flight.
This young fan is ready for the windy conditions forecast for today.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This young fan is ready for the windy conditions forecast for today.
Boats of all sizes are registered to compete in the tournament.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Boats of all sizes are registered to compete in the tournament.
Parents of the teams are on hand to record the takeoff for future memories.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Parents of the teams are on hand to record the takeoff for future memories.
Parents and families get full access to the dock for taking photos.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Parents and families get full access to the dock for taking photos.
A team from Spann Park High School in Hoover, Ala., takes its turn in the line.
Photo: Craig Lamb - A team from Spann Park High School in Hoover, Ala., takes its turn in the line.
Another aluminum boat comes through the takeoff.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Another aluminum boat comes through the takeoff.
Hunter Silverstrim sits beside his father Eric as the team from Queen City Bassmasters takes off for the day.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Hunter Silverstrim sits beside his father Eric as the team from Queen City Bassmasters takes off for the day.
The weather is spring like with temperatures forecast for the high 60s. Even so the wind is blowing hard at takeoff time.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The weather is spring like with temperatures forecast for the high 60s. Even so the wind is blowing hard at takeoff time.
It’s a rare sight to see floating boat key fobs in the 300s for a Bassmaster tournament. Those all are needed for this tournament and it’s 350 boats.
Photo: Craig Lamb - It’s a rare sight to see floating boat key fobs in the 300s for a Bassmaster tournament. Those all are needed for this tournament and it’s 350 boats.