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Competitive Fishing: A new school of thought

Posted: June 26th, 2013 by Bill Dance

(Note: This Part I of a two part blog. I’m sorry I had to break it up into two sections, but I came up with a lot of good information and wanted to be sure to share it all with you. – Bill)

Ever seen a high school letter jacket with bass on it? Well, if they aren’t out there on a teenagers’ backs, you can bet they will be.

Team bass fishing on the college scene has been making waves across the country for a decade or so. And in less than half that time, high school bass teams become more and more common.

I see this as a really exciting time, and I really find it interesting that something that might have made many kids want to skip school…back in the famed day…now, may be working to make more students actually WANT to be there.

It wasn’t that many years ago many people in the fishing industry were pondering, lamenting and maybe whining, “How do we get young people more involved in the sport?” And now, the push for high school teams certainly seems to be a way to do this.

Sure, it doesn’t target all the kids out there that never get the opportunity to fish, but it is certainly a plus for the future of our sport, and a great place to start.

I mean really, can any of us imagine what high school would have been like had we had fishing to look forward to within our school activities?

That’s the appeal that has helped the notion really take off. Some states are now hosting high school championships. A search on the internet for a topic as simple as “high school bass fishing” easily yields a ton of info. So that in itself says the popularity is spreading.

And states that yet to have a program are working to get there. Missouri outdoor writer John Neporadny reported schools in the Show-Me State voted in favor of sanctioning high school bass fishing and a meeting with the Missouri State High School Activities Association is in the works for this summer to set up rules and regulations for the program.

He foresees high school fishing teams taking off in the Southern states, especially. But he also noted in the Northeast. Neporadny said he saw where New Hampshire just had a high school state tournament.

Of course, some states simply don’t have access to bass fishing’s #1 requirement–water. But much of our country is blessed with this natural resource and “playing fields” abound, many within an hour or less of some high schools.

“The big problem we (Missouri) are experiencing is getting superintendents to believe that the program is low budget especially with some schools cutting teachers. They don’t have the money to pay for a teacher to be an advisor to the program, so they are expecting teachers to mentor the program without extra pay,” Neporadny said.

Part 2 next Wednesday.

As always, catch one for me.

Bill Dance

Tennessee

Emerald Coast

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