CVCC’s Nathan Dellinger finishes in top 10 at SE Regional

CVCC’s Nathan Dellinger finishes in top 10 at SE Regional

HICKORY, N.C. — Nathan Dellinger made the most of his opportunity this past week during his first-ever appearance in the 2020 B.A.S.S. Nation Southeast Regional on Lake Okeechobee in Okeechobee, Fla.

The 36-year-old CVCC freshman angler finished tied for ninth in the final standings of the non-boater division of the tournament — finishing just one spot short of qualifying for nationals.

"I don't really think it's sunk in to be honest," Dellinger said of his top-10 tournament performance. "It was a great opportunity to be a part of."

Dellinger earned the opportunity to compete in the regional after winning the state qualifier this past September on Roanoke River in Plymouth, N.C. That victory earned him a spot on the North Carolina B.A.S.S. state team.

Heading into this past week's regional, Dellinger was concerned with his lack of experience on Lake Okeechobee.

"I have not fished any lakes that far south," he said. "It's totally different. It's a super shallow lake, and it's a big lake. I'm used to fishing shallow, but not the type of vegetation and things that were there. It was an adjustment for me to do as well as I did.

"That Lake is known for big fish," he added. "The fish we were trying to catch we were basically waiting on. It was a waiting game. The fish moved up as the water warmed up throughout the day. On the non-boater side, how you finish depended on who you were paired with."

Dellinger was paired with three different boaters each day, and he said each of those boaters helped him during the three-day event.

After the first day on Wednesday, Dellinger reeled in three bass weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces. The total put him in 12th place overall.

Day two on Thursday saw similar results with Dellinger catching three more bass — this time weighing an even nine pounds, which pushed him into 10th place. Among anglers on his North Carolina team, Dellinger also ranked first — putting him in position to make nationals as the top-finishing angler in his state.

Dellinger felt super confident heading into the final day after learning the boater he'd been paired with.

"The guy had 23 or 22 pounds the day before," Dellinger said. "I felt like I had a good shot at it."

Despite a rough final day that included losing four fish that were more than five pounds, Dellinger still managed to catch three more live fish, which weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces. He finished the tournament with 26 pounds, 6 ounces of bass.

However, Asheville angler Tyler Lawwill, who entered the final day ranked third among North Carolina anglers, would catch 11 pounds, 2 ounces worth of bass to finish with 28 pounds, 11 ounces of bass.

Those totals placed Lawwill third in the tournament standings among non-boaters and first among state non-boater anglers — securing the North Carolina spot at nationals.

"It was a tough day," Dellinger said. "I was 2.5 pounds out of making the championship. I felt like I had a good shot of winning my state division. It was a humbling experience."

With his top-10 finish under his belt, Dellinger now turns his attention to the CVCC bass fishing team's first tournament of the spring this Friday at Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Ga.

Dellinger said his regional tournament appearance in Florida is something he won't ever forget, and he's hoping to share his experience with his Red Hawk teammates.

"These guys are a lot younger than I am," he said. "They haven't fished as much as I have over the years. It's a constant learning game. The fish aren't the same from one day to the next. From my eyes, it's motivation for our guys. You've got to swing for the fences. Sometimes you miss, but sometimes you hit."