This Highland Park Middle Schooler is the Reel Deal

He’s barely a teenager, but Dylan Sorrells already has enough fish tales to last a lifetime.

The Highland Park youngster gained national notoriety three years ago when he reeled in a 54-pound blue catfish at Lake Tawakoni, setting a record for his age group.

This summer, he will compete against some of the best junior anglers in the country at the TBF Junior World Championship in Ohio. The competition runs July 29-31 at Mosquito Creek Lake, about 60 miles east of Cleveland.

Dylan will compete alongside his neighbor, Will Mabus, after the pair won the TBF 15-and-under state title in June at Lake Whitney.

“He came out of the womb wired to fish,” said his father and frequent boat captain, Chris Sorrells. “He grabbed a rod at 3, and has never put it down. We’ve fished all over the world.”

As a preschooler, Dylan was catching bluegills in a Virginia pond. Now he spends much of his free time at Cedar Creek Lake, where the family has a boat and a lake house.

“He came out of the womb wired to fish.”

Chris Sorrells

“We started learning about these big lakes and how to fish them,” said Dylan, who will be an eighth-grader at Highland Park Middle School this fall. “I just started getting better and better, and more into it.”

After moving to Texas in 2014, Dylan fished at Lake Fork for the first time — when he was 8 — and caught a hefty 9.8-pound bass within an hour. Dylan started fishing in tournaments and won his first trophy shortly thereafter.

“It’s a lot of learning and practice, and experience on the water,” he said. “People have shown me different tips and tricks and techniques.”

This spring, Dylan and Mabus competed in the Ultimate High School Fishing circuit in East Texas. They finished sixth in the season standings, including one win, despite being the youngest in the field.

The state championship qualified them for the national tournament, where no Texas tandem has ever earned a title in the event’s 14-year history.

“We knew where the fish were, and we knew how to catch them,” said Dylan, who one day hopes to eventually turn professional. “We started off a little slow, but then it picked up and we caught them throughout the day.”

He said fishing has gained popularity among his Park Cities classmates, especially with team sports mostly shut down this spring by the COVID-19 pandemic: “They think it’s pretty cool.”

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