Starting a High School Fishing Club
By Trey Schroeder
Grant Nisbet and I love fishing. We live to fish and decided to find a way to keep us going through the winter months. We decided to start a fishing club at our high school. It wasn’t that easy, but we got it up and running and have been sharing our love of fishing with others so that they can experience fishing even though they live far away from great fishing lakes.
We started fishing high school tournaments right before the start of our freshman year at Lindbergh High School. We noticed that some of our competitors were from high school teams, so we inquired at school to see if there was a bass fishing club and were disappointed to learn that there was not. We thought it would be fun and useful for tournaments if we were part of a team, so we decided to start a club. Lindbergh was not interested at the time but did allow us to use the school name/logo on our jerseys, and at least that was a start!
After winning the Missouri state tournament during our sophomore year we started to receive media attention from TV news shout-outs, local online newspapers, etc… With the excitement of that, we went back to the school administrators and pled our case, but again they were somewhat reluctant. It’s the suburbs and they were thinking yearbook, chess and who knows what… not fishing. In our junior year I was selected to the Bassmaster All American High School Fishing Team and the media attention grew. I was on TV and in magazines being interviewed, fishing websites and the High School website were all talking about the award. All of a sudden kids were starting to approach us and their parents were calling school to inquire about the club (which was just Grant and me at that time). The school finally realized that there was a lot of interest. They told us what we need to do to get the club off the ground.
We enlisted a teacher as our club advisor and completed all the necessary paperwork. The paperwork included describing the purpose of the new club, how often and where we will meet, the expected number of students participating, any cost to student, what is the criteria for a student to be a member, club sponsor and a meeting to gauge the interest level for the club. A few weeks later the Lindbergh Fishing Club became a reality.
We scheduled our first meeting and had no idea what to expect. We were super excited when over 15 anxious kids and their parents wanting to learn more about the club and tournament fishing showed up for the interest session. We had every skill level at the first meeting from beginner to avid fisherman. We decided that because of the skill sets and the number of people with access to a boat that we needed to make the club more about shoreline tournaments and informational meetings.
We started having monthly meetings and had some of our sponsors and fishing friends as guest speakers. They put on “how-to” clinics and taught fishing basics, seasonal patterns, social media, and jig tying. We were able to get sponsors to donate new equipment to those kids that didn’t have quality gear and have had a few shoreline tournaments and casting contests. Everyone seems to really enjoy the competition and prizes at the events.
After the first year we started to gain even more interest and popularity. We have continued to grow, and are up from 20 to 45 members on our roster now! It has been incredible to see the club grow so fast and hopefully with our help and the current membership of future classes the fishing club will continue to thrive.