Reeling in BLHS BASS

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Reeling in BLHS BASS

Written by: Trinity Krouse, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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For the first time in history, there will be a Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, or BLHS BASS club. BLHS BASS is a group of students who fish and compete in tournaments throughout the year. On Sept. 8, six students will be participating the first tournament, at Hillsdale Reservoir to see who can reel in the heaviest bass.

The students compete in teams of two at tournaments hosted by BASS, a fishing organization. There are two tournaments in the fall and two in the spring, where competitors can qualify for state and nationals. Fishers qualify when they catch the heaviest fish.

“Competitions are at designated lakes. They are chosen in advance to the ‘season’ starting…” said junior Tyler Biggs. “All of the boats go out on the water at a set time and have [a] time they have to return back for ‘weigh in’. You will weigh your best five fish. You may not catch all five fish, but you weigh what you have. Then, the people with the most weight are qualified for more tournaments.”

According to Biggs, the students in BLHS BASS will practice at the lakes they will compete at, focusing on where the fish are located in the water.

“We haven’t started practices yet, but we will be practicing often before tournaments. We will discuss and practice things like lure choices, location of casting, how to present certain lures, and how to fish in different weather conditions,” said coach Abraham Cilliers.

Although fishing is considered a sport, it is technically a club in Kansas. The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) has not yet recognized bass fishing as a sport.

“We operate as a club while still competing as a sport,” said Cilliers. ”This may change in the future with growing interest in the sport around the state.”

Before the school sponsored the club, juniors Trevor Whisenant and Brett Lasley participated on their own in tournaments. Not only have they won tournaments as a fishing duo, but they earned $10,000 in scholarships for Mckendree College, in Lebanon, Illinois. Last year, Whisenant and Lasley took first place in the BASS High School Midwestern Open that was held at the Lake of The Ozarks. They beat 71 teams from surrounding states, and had the chance to compete in the National Championship event at Kentucky Lake.

“I started doing competitive fishing two years ago, and my very first tournament I ever participated in I ended up winning and we won those scholarships, $1,000 cash, and also a free ride to Nationals and also the High School Bassmasters Classic,” said Lasley.

For more information on BLHS BASS, or to see the results of the upcoming tournament, click here.

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