High school fishing. Yes, an actual sport growing in high schools nationwide. Along with football,baseball, basketball high school kids have the opportunity to join up and fish team bass tournaments. I know it sounds crazy but it is here and here to stay.
Many of you who read this will probably think there are no bass in Colorado and most people who live here fish for other species. We actually do have some great bass fisheries in Colorado. A few examples are Pueblo Reservoir, Aurora Reservoir, Chatfield Reservoir, Brush Hollow Reservoir, Cheeseman Reservoir, Horse Tooth Reservoir and Trinidad Reservoir just to name a few. Not to mention the hundred of ponds throughout the metro areas that hold a lot of nice bass.
High school fishing is very popular in the South and by far there are several more high schools affiliated with the program there but there is an opportunity in Colorado if this peaks your interest. There are two organizations that have high school fishing under their name one is BASS and FLW. I am a member of both and they are great for our sport of bass fishing. The group I am involved with is the FLW side that has a sub organization called the TBF. "The Bass Federation" Here they have the SAF, "student angler federation".
Currently there are a few high schools that are involved in the SAF high school fishing program. Pueblo West High School in Pueblo, Co. has been the longest active club and Mesa Ridge High School in Fountain, Co. is in there second year. BASS has the Windsor High School program in Windsor, Co. Clubs are starting to form throughout the state for both organizations.
You can go on the website and check out highschoolfishing.org and see how you can get a club started in your high school. If you live in a rural area and still want to be a part of this you can sign up under my youth club as a SAF member the Fountain Valley Junior Bass Club. The TBF has allowed the club to be sanctioned as a high school so no kid would be left out who wanted to fish. Pretty awesome.
The format is having one qualifying tournament usually at Pueblo Reservoir every year with each high school team fishing against other high school teams.The team consists of two high school team members and a boat captain. The winner of that qualifying tournament earns a spot to move on to the regional tournament and from there on to the National event to fish for scholarship money towards a college of there choice.
This year the team of Bradley Czosynka and Josh Cundiff from Mesa Ridge High School also members of my youth club competed against eighteen other teams to win the Colorado SAF high school state champion title. From here the team , myself and their boat captain David Wilkins made the long 22 hour one way trip to Clear Lake California to fish the SAF regional tournament. We spent a few days on the water prefishing looking for a pattern and with the FLW Rayovac series and the College regional also going on at the same time the lake and most common spots were getting hammered.
We decided to let the boys fish all the techniques they gained information on through research, the internet, club members and friends it was a treat to hear the strategy of how they were going to throw big swim baits and then flip docks and then go punching weed mats and then go deep cranking....that didn't last a full day of practice so we decided to fish their comfort zone the following day. We found a pretty decent pattern and the boys were good with what they needed to do to catch fish during the tournament. Practice was over and it was all up to them now.
There were six other high schools from the western states who made the trip and they all were excited at the launch.This would be a one day shoot out and the winner would go on to the National championship from here, I would not be on the boat the final day so all I could do was wait and hope they made the right decisions to bring in the five bass limit. It seemed like forever for the 2 pm weigh in to get here and they came in with only four fish but two of them were in the 4 + pound range. They weighed in 12# 14 oz.with those four fish and were the first team to weigh in. The California team had a five fish limit and weighed in 12# 13 oz. Three other teams had limits but were just ounces shy. This was the closest tournament for the SAF regional championship so far and I am proud to say they pulled it off. Great job Bradley and Josh. SAF high school regional champions from Colorado. Best of Luck at the National Championship.
Get involved with some classmates and start up a fishing club in your high school. Get out and go fishing as much as you can. Your team could be the next National contenders and move up to a College fishing program from there, Yes. College fishing...you bet. It only gets better from there. :)
Best of Luck, Sam Heckman / Pro Staff