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Some of my fondest memories growing up were fishing with my dad. I guess it’s that way for a lot of anglers out there, but I really have a great father. We spent many hours in the boat together and through that time I learned a lot. Most of that time was with me in control of the boat, not because he didn’t want control but because he wanted me to develop my skills. Now I am not claiming to be the greatest angler out there, but I have had some accomplishments that I am proud of in my career.
None of that would have been possible without my father, from fishing buddy tournaments together, to driving all over the state fishing the Junior BASS Nation program, or just allowing me the use of his boat he helped propel me to where I am today. His sacrifices didn’t come cheap; he gave up a lot just so that I could live my dreams as a professional fisherman and for that I am grateful.
Besides fishing one thing my father has taught me through example is how important the younger generation of a sport can be to its success. It doesn’t matter if its basketball or fishing, if you aren’t teaching and growing that younger generation things can go downhill fast. Working and teaching the younger generation not only makes them better anglers but it also helps the sport as a whole. They will be long term tackle buyers and at the same time will be good stewards of the water if we teach them right. My point is, it helps full circle and that’s why I think it’s vitally important that we get involved.
Hopefully if you are a high school student reading this article your school already has a team in place. If so and you have any interest in bass fishing I strongly suggest you go sign up. How cool would it be to represent your school while bass fishing? That’s right pretty dang cool. If your school doesn’t have a team there are still some things that you can do. The full details on how to start a team at your high school can be found at www.bassmaster.com and then go under the “Tournament” section and click on “High School”. Basically what you need is; a minimum of 2 team members, complete your school’s requirements to become an official organization on campus, and then a faculty advisor or faculty member who is willing to be assigned to the team. That will get you started and then the rest are just simple details.
I know some of you reading this are thinking well I am certainly not in high school anymore and I don’t even have a child that is that age. Well that’s okay because you can still be a huge part of the high school fishing program. First and foremost I know firsthand what most schools need are boat captains. To be a boat captain usually all it takes is a background check and you are good to go. Most of you probably won’t be interested in giving up the occasional Saturday to take out some high school students but you could be missing out on a pretty rewarding experience. Who knows you might take an upcoming Elite Series pro out on the water.
Beyond being a captain, high school teams usually have practices just like the basketball team. A few that I have worked with will have map study practices, on the water practices, or just flipping and pitching practice behind the school. Talk with your local high school fishing coach and see what areas they need help in the most and get involved with something that can better our sport.