COX DOESNT FISH FOR ATTENTION
CARROLLTON, GA Taylor Cox has been casting a rod since she was as tall as her daddys knee and entered her first fishing tournament when she was just 7 or 8 years old. She says she cant remember exactly when because all she can exactly remember is she has always been fishing.
The Carrollton High School senior admits she first started the sport as a way to spend time with her father, John Cox, and to this day considers this relationship a special one in her life. Over time, their connection grew deeper as they spent more and more time on a bass boat in the water, traveling all over the country to not only compete, but to rekindle friendships with people who love the sport of bass fishing as much as they do.
We are always together, said Taylor. Its more like we are best friends than experiencing a father-daughter relationship. I have to thank him for everything because he is the one who started it all.
That includes the creation of the CHS Trojans Bass Team. Cox proposed the idea to then-Principal Dr. Mark Albertus to add the sport as an extracurricular activity for the school in the 2013-2014 school year.
Georgia BASS Nation is the sanctioning organization for high school club team fishing and falls under the auspices of BASS Nation at the national level. In the summer of 2015, Taylor, then a freshman, and her fishing partner Ben Muse qualified for a national BASS tournament and placed 16th out of 105 competing teams. Later, in October, Taylor was the only female to qualify for the state competition. She has continued this success since, consistently placing in the top 20 in tournament action. Her fishing partner this year is Nate Butler, a freshman.
Taylor considers herself an innately shy person, but says the confidence shes gained from competition has been immense. This is especially the case being the lone girl on many occasions in a sport dominated by boys.
The success of the CHS team brought many interested students into the fold, with most being surprised about what bass fishing is all about. It is mostly a year-round sport and it takes special equipment to be a part namely a bass boat, which some students mistakenly thought the school would supply.
Ive heard statements like, Oh, so were gonna go pond fishing, thinking we were going to fish from the banks, and, Do we keep the fish we catch and eat them?, laughed Taylor, who quickly points out competitive fishing is a catch-and-release practice.
While Taylor is an accomplished angler, she is successful in other arenas as well. Shes been a Trojan lacrosse player since the eighth grade and for a short time was on the swim team but the conflicts with fishing ended that adventure. She also loves to ride horses.
I most definitely consider myself a tomboy, she said.
Taylor is also a strong student, providing her extra bait to lure colleges in the recruitment process. After much consideration, she has decided to continue her education and fishing career at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., a small school tucked in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. She signed her letter of intent Feb. 21 following an offer of academic and athletic scholarships.
Im really excited to go there because I will get to compete as a freshman, said Taylor, who noted many larger schools dont afford underclassmen this opportunity.
With Taylors departure after this school year, the CHS bass team wont be without a female presence. Two other girls, Morgan Frank and Anna Grace Brooks, both sophomores, will carry on her legacy. What advice would Taylor offer to others girls who are interested in joining the team?
If youre a girl, and you like to fish, dont be scared and just put yourself out there, she said.