When Brantlee Knight of Laurel Hill, NC was born prematurely, his parents had much more to be concerned about than watching the now 5-year-old catch a bass. But when Brantlee landed a 5-pound bucketmouth earlier this month, it was a moment Brantlee’s dad said is one he’ll never forget.

BJ Knight said 5 years ago, Brantlee was born 9 weeks early, and spent a couple of months in the hospital, overcoming several obstacles before finally going home.

“There were times when things got scary and we weren’t sure if he would even make it home. But God had other plans, and he’s now a smart, healthy kid that loves the outdoors,” said Brantlee’s dad.

This year, the young outdoorsman has experienced a number of firsts. He went on his first hunting trip and saw a doe, he’s been fishing with family members, including an inshore trip that resulted in Brantlee holding his first sand shark. And on Sept. 7, he learned how to cast a Zebco 404 rod and reel combo that his PaPa LJ Knight gave him.

“He went out into the yard and began to practice his casts. It didn’t take long for him to figure it all out,” said BJ Knight.

The next day, Chris Locklear, a family friend and owner of Locked and Loaded Retrievers, invited BJ and Brantlee to fish in one of his private ponds. The two picked up a tube of crickets on the way, and rigged up the Zebco combo.

Before long, Brantlee had landed over a dozen bream, and then he set his hook into something bigger.

“This fish started pulling the drag, and he called out to me and quickly handed me his fishing pole. I felt the fish on the line, and I could tell it was a good one. I handed the rod back to him and told him he had to get the fish in. I gave him instructions and he listened well. When the bass was about 10 feet from the bank, it came out of the water shaking its head. Brantlee yelled ‘oh my God.’ He got the fish to the edge of the bank and I reached down and picked it up,” said BJ Knight.

“This is one of those proud ‘dad moments’ that I’ll never forget. The love for the outdoors is a family tradition, and it looks as if Brantlee will continue the tradition, because now he is hooked,” he said.

-Story submitted by BJ Knight