Avid angling: Blount County’s student fishing teams taking the bait
Three fishing teams have formed in Blount County since 2018, with more than 130 middle and high school students competing this fall.
Local growth in the sport mirrors what is happening across Tennessee — one of the largest competitive fishing states in the country.
“The sport is growing so fast, we can’t keep up. Last year in Tennessee there were more student anglers enrolled than any other state in the U.S. That doesn’t sound that big, but you’re competing against states like Florida, Louisiana and Texas,” said J.J. Larue, coach of the 60-member Alcoa Fishing Team.
He credits the rapid growth of competitive fishing to the rise of social media.
With platforms including YouTube and Instagram, young anglers are able to connect and watch content from professional fishermen and women. Companies that sponsor teams also know that the teens are the future of the industry, Larue said.