Three years ago, in hopes of fishing with my two teenagers, I took my crash course in the relatively new sport of High School Fishing. Let me tell you, it’s way more complicated than you would think. After weeks of researching online, I finally narrowed it down to B.A.S.S. HS Fishing, at the time, it was by far the most organized and well ran program. I will now share with you some of the things that I have learned.
Getting the club started was a challenge to say the least. First I had to find a teacher or coach that was willing to be in charge (mostly for paperwork). Then we had to get at least 6 kids to sign up, it was only then that they could be approved by the school and BASS. This is when it really gets tricky because now we needed rules, schedules, BASS memberships, boat captains, boats and some much needed instruction! Thankfully each state has a BASS Nation director and now under him, each state has a youth director. These are the people that can get you pointed in the right direction.
One of the most important things to remember is that this is a new sport and everything is constantly changing. So you must stay in contact with your states BASS reps whether it be thru Facebook pages or emails, the flow of information about high school fishing can sometimes be hard keep up with or even hard to find. Some of the key rules that the anglers and boat captains need to be aware of is what each one of them can and can’t do. Several states differ in these matters, so I can only speak for Georgia. Boat captains/owners must have a $300,000 insurance policy on the boat that is being used (with the vin number on the policy). Boat captains are not allowed to fish, run the trolling motor, tie knots, clear backlashes or help land fish in anyway. Anglers are not permitted to run the big engine (except for loading and unloading) and they are in charge of everything else pertaining to fishing. The boat captain is merely there as operator of the boat.
In closing, now that I’m in my third year of this, I can honestly say that its absolutely the best sport that I have ever been involved with. Although my son decided not to join the fishing team, It has been some of the best father daughter times that I could have ever hoped for. The kids that we meet from other schools and around the country are truly some of the best teenagers on the planet. It’s truly a blessing to see the passion for fishing that these kids have. They have a blast at the tournaments and although they are toughest of competitors on the water, they hang out and even eat together at the hotels and restaurants when traveling. Before high school fishing, my daughter had about 5 close friends and now she has about 30 close friendships that I’m sure she will cherish for years to come.
If your teenager is even remotely interested in fishing, I strongly recommend this great new sport to them. Colleges are even offering fishing scholarships now and it is starting to catch the mainstream eye. I hope this article could help you. Tight lines and Take a kid fishing!
5X3 Pro Staffer John Cox (not elite pro John Cox) LOL!