Thornville angler to compete in championship
“I like being able to relax and be in nature and just be myself,” said Datz, 14, whose love of the sport earned him a win at the Junior Bassmasters segment of the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) Federation Nation Northern Divisional, 11 to 14 year old age division, on the Mississippi River, Aug. 10. “When I was about four years old my dad would take me out catfishing and ever since I’ve tried to catch bigger fish,” said Datz, who lives in the Heron Bay and fishes for the Boat Boys team. His winning bass weighed 3 pounds, 1 ounce, qualifying him for Junior Bassmasters World Championship held on Lake Wheeler in Decatur, Alabama in October.
He prepares for tournaments by “pre-fishing” the water and talking to members of the Ohio team. “Unless I’m fishing by myself,” said Datz. “Then I think of where the fish are. But, while I’m out on the water I’m just having fun, not stressing about anything.”
Although Datz got his feet wet angling for catfish, there are others he’d rather hook. “Largemouth bass are my favorite species because they put up a good fight and are so energetic,” he said.
“He’s a Team Boat Boys guy,” said Boat Boys owner and CEO Tim Figgins. “He has a shot at the national championship in the youth circuit.” Figgins said Todd Thompson, Boat Boys Newark general manager, excels at mentoring young anglers like Datz and has mentored youths who would become world champions. “Todd’s a fantastic fisherman and really into developing youth,” he said. Figgins said Thompson teaches youths how to read the bottom of a lake and sight fish. “You have to learn how to think like a fish,” he said.
Thompson said Datz competed in the regional tournament with youths from eight states. “He had to be the best angler,” he said. Thompson said Datz’ success is even more impressive when considering he just joined Team Boat Boys last year. Boat Boys is working to create a junior pro staff. He said the B.A.S.S. organization is working with high schools, including Sheridan, where Datz attends and participates in the school band and is creating a fishing club.