Chemistry and consistency are two key components of any good team, no matter what the sport, and a pair of Gordon Lee High School alums are proving that on the water.
Blake Teeters and Alex Spires (Class of 2013) may be rookies on the Alabama Bass Trail North Division this year, but with three tournaments down and two more to go later this summer, they current find themselves sitting atop the points standings for Angler of the Year honors.
Teeters and Spires have 637 points through three tournaments, giving them a seven-point lead over their closest competitors with two dates left on the North Division schedule.
The longtime friends have been fishing together since elementary school and started tournament fishing in high school, but said they decided this year to test themselves on a bigger stage than the local tournaments they had been fishing on Lake Nickajack.
"We've been fishing down here locally and we just figured we'd take the next step, get into a little bit bigger field and see how we stood up," Spires said. "So far, it's turned out really good. I wasn't expecting it to be like it is, but I'm glad it is because we have a good chance of winning the points."
The duo made it 3-for-3 in top 20 finishes after bringing in 13.62 pounds of fish to place 18th out of 216 entries in the one-day tournament at Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala. this past Saturday.
They opened the season on Feb. 22 on Lake Guntersville with a fifth-place showing (21.72 pounds) and had another 18th place finish (12.98) on Weiss Lake on May 16.
"We've actually had a really good year," Teeters explained. "This past weekend was the first tournament going into it that we didn't feel like we were going to have a good tournament and then we did end up having a good tournament and it could have been a lot better. We actually lost two fish on Saturday that was the difference in 18th and probably a top five finish."
Spires said the two simply click when they fish together.
"It just flows," he added. "We know where each other is (in the boat) and what we're doing. We think a lot alike, honestly. We kind of look at the same stuff and do the same things."
They will fish at Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden on July 25 before wrapping up the regular season at Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper on Sept. 12. And while Angler of the Year honors would be nice, the duo is thinking even bigger.
The top 75 teams in the points in each division (North and South) will automatically qualify for the 2020 ABT Team Championship. That tournament will be held at Lake Martin in Alexander City (October 23-24) with a grand prize of $50,000 to the winners.
Past that is the B.A.S.S. Team Championship in late 2020 at Harris Chain in Florida. The top three teams in that two-day event will go on to a Classic Qualifier in which six teams will fish for two days for a spot in the prestigious 2020 Bassmaster Classic.
Spires said that as the season has progressed, their goals have changed.
"Our goal was to make the ABT championship," he said. "We both felt that was the main goal in the whole deal and that if we could make that, it would be an accomplishment.
"Now that we've gotten to where we're at, the goal is to make that B.A.S.S. Team Championship. That's the goal if we can just stay consistent. I'd love to win that thing. That would be awesome."