Divisional tournament led to high school club
By: Matt Stearns
It all started three years ago, when I fished my first high school fishing event ever. This particular tournament happened to be the state tournament on Lake Waconia, Minn. When I was on my way to the weigh-in that day, it never even crossed my mind that those five fish I had would eventually send me into the B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional tournament and spark my passion for high school fishing.
The week that I spent in Indiana fishing on one of the toughest lakes I’ve ever crossed paths with, was one that I can still vividly remember. From walking past all the sponsor tables to celebrating the win with the Minnesota team, the Northern Divisional tournament forever changed my outlook on fishing.
Luckily for me, it encouraged my partner as well. We sat down and did some talking. Did we actually want to create a club? Would there be interest? Would other high schoolers join? Then I met Dave Schueck who formerly ran the trap shooting team and knew how to get things started. The next thing I knew, things took off.
Although it took dedication, research, and a lot of preparation, eventually we had a recognized combined fishing club for both Lakeville North and Lakeville South high schools. The most exciting part about starting the club was seeing all the interest. I manned the booth at the Lakeville North activities fair and many students signed up as well as getting weekly phone calls from others that were interested. It was so cool to see how everyone wanted to get into fishing!
Every month we planned an activity to bring the team together. We started out with meetings with local pro guest speakers as well as the student members themselves sharing fishing techniques, but we soon expanded into volunteer events, ice fish and panfish tournaments, as well as speaker Trevor Lo who participated in the 2016 Bassmaster Classic, all in under a year!
It’s been incredible to see how much interest high school fishing has attained and as student president of the club, I am very excited to see where we will be able to progress from here! In Minnesota, open water fishing is just starting and we plan on taking a couple months off from meetings so we can concentrate on our tournaments and finishing well.
With upwards of 32 students, the Lakeville Fishing Club is now one of the largest high school fishing clubs in the state and has received partnerships from All-Terrain Tackle, Shimano reels, and the Minnesota Valley In-Fisherman club. Our club’s growth is a testament to the fast-paced expansion of fishing in high schools and leaves us with endless opportunities.