Upstate teen breaking barriers on the lake

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 11:24 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Mackenzie Sanders is breaking barriers.

She is the first angler from Pickens High School to sign on to fish at the next level, and will soon become the first female bass angler at Erskine College.

“This is the only thing I do, besides work and school,” said Sanders.

The Pickens High School senior started fishing with her family when she was only a toddler, but has only been fishing competitively for the last nine months.

“Everything is going to end at some point so might as well take the chances, take everything you got while you have it,” she said.

Since then she has landed sponsorships, a college scholarship, and mentorships.

“I just reached out to her and I offered her a little bit of advice, any help. Anything I could do to help her out,” explained Toney Gravely.

Gravely, a Pickens HS alum himself, fishes professionally on the Toyota Series and BFL.

He first connected with Sanders after seeing a social media post.

“Take hold of some of the younger kids, and bring them up in the sport,” said Gravely.

Being where Sanders is right now is something the fishing community can say is impressive, to say the least.

“I didn’t think it would be possible, but I have the man upstairs to help me through everything and my family and my friends,” said Sanders.

Sanders hopes others can see her message of determination and perservence.

Because she is planning on taking fishing as far as she can.

“I think it can go places if I do it the right way and keep the mindset I have right now. If I just stay with it, and I think I will. I love it to be out here. I could be out here every single day and I wouldn’t get bored,” said Sanders.