High school fishing was a great choice
By Ryan Park
Joining my high school bass fishing team is one of the greatest decisions I have ever made.
I am a senior at Plainfield South High School in Plainfield, Ill., now. When I was in eighth grade I heard my future high school had a bass fishing team and I was ecstatic! I was fishing the ponds near my house almost every day and I loved fishing, but I had never competed in a tournament.
Admittedly, walking into that first meeting and having all these kids around me who were established on the team and had fished tournaments was very nerve racking. Little did I know what this decision to join the team would do for me. All the opportunities, success, friendships, sponsorships and enjoyment it would bring! In particular, joining a high school bass fishing team brought me more knowledge of bass fishing then I could ever imagine.
Knowledge is your most effective tool when you are bass fishing. Every time I fish a tournament I gain new knowledge. From the map study to actually being on the body of water, I am always learning things that make me a better angler. I learn how weather affects a fish’s attitude and position in the lake, and what lures to use based on weather conditions and different types of cover or structure. I gain knowledge about how color, depth control, weight, rate of sink, and speed affect whether or not a bass bites your lure. Finally, I have been exposed to the mental side of tournament fishing. There is nothing you can do when a boat breaks down mid-tournament, weather turns sour, and 5-pounders spit the hook. You can control your attitude and stay positive no matter the circumstance.
As a bass fisherman, you will have awful and awesome days, but knowledge will help you have more for the latter. High school bass fishing is the best platform for teens to gain knowledge on bass fishing. High school bass fishing is not about having the most expensive reel, the most exotic lures, or the fanciest boat. It’s the knowledge you have that makes you a great bass fisherman.
High school fishing has been an amazing platform to start my fishing career and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this growing sport.
Editor’ s Note: Ryan Park is a 2017 Illinois High School State Champion, four-time High School State Qualifier, 2017 Bassmaster High School National Qualifier and two-time PSHS Angler of the Year.