Local high school duo angles for spot at the bass fishing national championship

ST. GEORGE — Jordan Werner and Cutler Labrum are going from Utah to South Carolina to catch some bass.

Red Rock Bass fishermen (L to R) Cutler Labrum and Jordan Werner at the dock at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, June 23, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George

And chase some of their dreams along the way.

The duo will represent Red Rock Bass at the 2022 Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School National Championship at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina Aug. 11-13. 

“I’m pumped. It’s gonna be awesome,” Labrum said. “I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. I definitely think we can win if we put our heads in it and just grind out there.”

The occasion marks the first time since 2014 that Utah will send fishermen to compete in the high school national championship.

“It’s awesome to represent the place you’ve lived your whole life in a place you’ve never been to,” Werner said. “I’m looking forward to winning. Me and Cutler are about just as good as everybody else.” 

The duo earned the qualification points necessary to go to South Carolina over the course of 10 bass fishing tournaments staged at Sand Hollow, Gunlock Reservoir and Quail Reservoir. They finished in the overall top two in every tournament.

“They really handled a lot of adversity,” Red Rocks Bass coach and boat captain Clif Gallagher said. “They did a really good job of learning how to fish together.”

Gallagher started the club four years ago when he encountered two kids fishing in a pond on a golf course and it inspired him.

“Fishing is universal,” he said. “Anyone at all can take a fishing pole to a river or a lake, throw in a line and make friends. Everyone fishes- men, women, children, handicapped, all ages, all kinds of people. It’s the universal language.”

Red Rock Bass is about more than just fishing.

Red Rock Bass fishermen (L to R) Cutler Labrum and Jordan Werner at the dock at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, June 23, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George

“It’s good for the community, I really believe that,” Gallagher said. “It gives these kids something to do, gets them outside and off their phones. They learn about teamwork and it’s open to all levels and abilities.”

As captain of the boat (named “The Linda K” after his mother), Gallagher is tasked with driving the pair around Lake Hartwell as they seek the best holes. He can also offer advice on fishing techniques and patterns.

Up to 275 clubs and schools are expected to compete in the national championship. Gallagher said that most high schools in the South have their own sanctioned fishing teams like any other sport, but in other regions around the country, high-schoolers compete on club fishing teams.

“There will be colleges there; scholarships are available,” Gallagher said. “And there’s prizes to compete for as well.”

Werner attends Hurricane High School. A friend told his dad about Red Rock Bass and they went to check it out.

“And I got hooked, first meeting of the year,” Werner said. “I fished the first tournament and it has just gone from there.”

He added that he fishes tournaments with his dad as well and he hopes to fish professionally someday. 

Labrum goes to Crimson Cliffs High School and had an early start in the water like his partner.

“I’ve grown up fishing with my dad. We’ve just always been around it,” Labrum said. “Mostly trout fishing when I was growing up but the past four or five years I’ve gotten into largemouth and bass fishing in general.”

He went on to say that he wants to turn pro someday as well, but he also has hopes that he can go to college and fish too.

In the meantime, the anglers will prepare to represent Utah at the national championship. Anyone interested in helping Labrum and Werner get to South Carolina can look up their GoFundMe project.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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