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Gabe Blair Wins 2020 Bass Fishing Athlete Of The Year

Mercer Titan Is Making Waves

Mercer County Senior High School sophomore Gabe Blair has won the 2020 Midway/KHSAA Bass Fishing Athlete of the Year. (Photo submitted).

Spencer Moore

Contributing Writer

The sport of bass fishing at the high school level has made a big splash over the past few years. Locally, there have been many teams created, and just a few months ago, the Mercer County Titans completed their first ever season as a team.

Every new team will have their opening struggles, but there was certainly a lot to be excited about going forward. One athlete on the team in particular is paving a nice path for the rest of his teammates as well as himself, that being now sophomore Gabe Blair.

Last week, Blair learned he had received the 2020 Midway University/Kentucky High School Athletic Association Bass Fishing Athlete of the Year award. It’s a big catch, and well deserved. Blair has the mindset needed to succeed in the sport of fishing, and he takes it just as seriously as any athlete.

He wants everyone to know just how tough being an angler truly is, but also how rewarding it can be.

“This is not an easy sport. You are out on the lake for eight hours, casting like crazy until your arm goes numb at some points,” Blair said. “But like all sports, you have to really love this to enjoy it. If you really have the passion for something you will look past all the bad stuff that could go wrong and look for all the good that happens in the day.”

Bass tournaments are more than just going out on the lake and enjoying a few casts for Blair. He has a process for how he and his father, who is also his boat captain, approach each tournament.

“My dad and I discuss a plan on Wednesday or Thursday. Loading tackle and gear on Friday. Up at 4 a.m. and out of the house by 4:30. We are normally on the water by 6:30-7 a.m.,” he said.

They take advantage of every moment to get better. Winter, spring, summer and fall, they are out on the water finding the best spots and best colors for each lake he said.

Blair also gives a lot of credit of his success to fishing partner, Mason Cheek.

“We know how to work well together,” he said. “All of my teammates have become really good friends. All of my teachers who have believed in me not only in school but what I do out on the lake.”

Blair said Cheek and his parents have not only have pushed him to get better and maintain his focus on keeping his grades high and his practice regular, but they have made it joyful. The beginning of the Titan team gave Blair more opportunities to showcase his talents.

He said he is honored and thankful to receive the award in just his first season competing and gives much credit to his parents.

“If they hadn’t gotten all the info together to start the team I really don’t know what I would have done,” Blair said. “My boat captain (my dad) for always being there to give my partner Mason Cheek and I the encouragement when we are a little anxious when we don’t have fish in the boat. Last but not least all our local sponsors and our big name sponsors.”

Blair still has a lot of time left to win even more awards, but winning this award will surely mean a lot for his future. He will pursue his dreams of fishing in college as well as professionally, and will do all it takes both in and out of the class room to make sure it happens.

“Becoming a pro angler has been a dream of mine,” he said. “I plan to keep being out on the lakes as much as I can. I have been contacting sponsors for me and my team. Also in order to do all of this I have to continue to keep my grades up in school. That is one of the most important things my parents have told me as well.”

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