Fishing is for most of us, simply an enjoyable activity which requires very little in the way of effort, gear, and skill to be quite successful.
But then there is the professional or at least the competitive side of fishing.
We are talking about bass fishing here — the nation’s top money fish. The coveted ones with bucket-size mouths and dollar signs all over them, as well as the fishers who chase them — guys and girls with enough advertising on their jumpsuits to cover the marketing budget of a small company.
But the bass fishing glory isn’t reserved for the celebrated pros whose pursuit of trophies, treasures, and TV time takes them all over the map.
Nope, there’s enough left over for the minor leaguers — bass anglers on their way, you might call them.
Indeed, there are now hundreds of high school bass fishing teams fishing their way to prizes that can include significant recognition and, more importantly, college scholarships and opportunities to fish at the next level.
Just days ago, about the time the groundhog was stirring, high school bass fishing teams were locked in battle for upcoming spots on the national stage.
Mossy Oak, title sponsor of the Bassmaster High School Series and official pattern of B.A.S.S., congratulated Scott Springer and Trust Say who took home the top prize at a recent event. The pair of 17-year-olds from the Chicago area surpassed 241 other teams competing on Toledo Bend Reservoir Jan. 28.
“It’s an honor to play a role in this tremendous program for young anglers at the high school level,” said Ben Maki, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Mossy Oak, in a press release.
Springer and Say, who are part of the Christy, Springer and Say Community Club, boated a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 7 ounces, which was more than 2 pounds heavier than the second-place duo.
That catch propelled Springer and Say into the High School National Championship Tournament, which will be held at an undisclosed location later this year.
In all, 24 of the 242 teams earned a berth in the championship with their showing on Toledo Bend.
The victory provided Springer and Say with a bounty of prizes. They won $2,000 for their fishing team, and they picked up a $250 gift certificate from Mossy Oak, as well as an Abu Garcia rod/reel combo.
The win also earned them a combined $20,000 scholarship offer to compete with the McKendree University fishing team.
The Big Bass Award went to Colby Miller and Jaden Cedars of Oak Hill High School in Louisiana who boated a 9-3 lunker.
High school club fishing teams are beginning to gain traction and so are motivated teens who join local all-age bass fishing clubs and participate in local and regional contests.
College level school-sponsored teams are also growing in popularity. Especially in the warmer regions where fishing seasons are longer at least and year around at best.