In the summer when Brent Brady was 17 years old, his father was killed in a boating accident during a fishing tournament on Tims Ford Lake. Even before then, the 1983 Red Bank High School graduate had aspirations of a professional angling career, and he still was able to make that happen because "an unbelievable number of mentors stepped up for me" in his dad's absence.
"I always appreciated that," Brady said Wednesday.
He has coached youth sports teams and helped with the middle school and now high school football teams at Silverdale Baptist Academy, where his freshman son Josh has attended since kindergarten.
This school year, though, Brady has tied his "desire to give back" to his 30-year career as a pro angler, including time in the B.A.S.S. and FLW organizations. He's the coach of Silverdale's inaugural fishing team, with football coach Al Rogers as the official school sponsor.
"Al teaches a course in aquatic biology, and he's always been very supportive," Brady said, "and coming up May 4 is our seventh annual Fisherman's Dream bass tournament, which we use as a fundraiser for the school. The school has been very fishing supportive, so we started this club as a way to, number one, teach young men and women how to fish so they enjoy it the rest of their lives. Number two, we hope to get some kids off the couch and active outdoors, and thirdly, we wanted to provide an avenue for kids who maybe didn't have someone in their homes who could take them fishing."
The club is for grades 9-11. It has 11 company sponsors and is sanctioned by The Bass Federation's Student Angler Federation under the umbrella of FLW, and it has 17 members in its first year.
He thanked Rhea County coach Brian Derlak for helping the SBA team get started, and he knows Soddy-Daisy, Walker Valley, Grundy County and Sequatchie County also have teams.
"I believe the Tennessee state championships last year had over 100 teams," Brady said. "That's the star we're pointing to, this year's state tournament on Nickajack on June 1."
The winner there will go to the national tournament held in conjunction with FLW's college nationals.
The Seahawks anglers competed against each other on March 9 on Chickamauga Lake and got 6.1, 5.7 and 5.6 pounds for the top three two-man boats, headed by Braden Marshall and Daniel Guinn. They're holding another such event Friday on Guntersville Lake, and then on April 20 and May 18 they'll compete against Rhea County.
Mocs do well
The UTC team of Taylor Bolton and Parker Bacon finished second to Middle Tennessee State's Ricky Mallory and Austin Meeks in the Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail's fourth season qualifier last weekend on Nickajack. The MTSU duo totaled 28.13 pounds for their five keepers, including a 7.81-pounder, and the Mocs totaled 23.88 with a 7.11 big fish.
MTSU's Nolen Spencer and Johnathan Reece were third with Baylor School graduate Will Stansell and Matt Townsen of Tennessee Tech fourth. Another Tech duo was fifth, and Tennessee Wesleyan's Sahadat Mughal and John Higdon were sixth with UTC's Lance Garen and Colton Ownby seventh and fellow Mocs Trent Huie and Ryan Houston ninth out of 23 boats.