VERNON, TX (KAUZ) - Bass fishing is not a traditional high school sport, but for several students in Vernon it's something they love to do. And when they got an opportunity to start their own bass fishing team, they did just that.
"One of our cousins, they go to a school and they have a fishing team and we asked how we could get it started," said Vernon Junior Cason Cook. "And we started talking to some people and we went up and we actually went in front of the school board and we presented it in the meeting and they OK'd it, so it was awesome."
In just their first season three teams, two from Vernon and one from Vernon Northside, did well enough to qualify to compete in the Texas High School Bass Association Regional Tournament April 14th.
"As our first year we were very excited, said Cook. "I didn't know if we were going to make it this far or not. I'm really happy; I hope we continue and go to State and hopefully do good in State."
"It was super exciting," said Northside junior Morgon Reinisch. "I mean it was a new -- tournament fishing is just completely different from just wanting to go out and just catch fish and have fun. And so it was a learning experience, but it's like once we kind of -- towards the end, we really started doing a lot better and figuring stuff out. And so when we did end up getting the weight that we did and advancing, it was real exciting."
I was unaware of the science of fishing, so the fisherman gave me a quick rundown on everything they look at before they go out on the water to fish
"We look at what the weather is going to be like," said Cook. "And like the temperature and the water clarity, water temperature, a bunch of stuff like that, time of year has a bunch to do with it. There is a lot more into it than just tying on a bait and fishing."
"To win a tournament you've got to be the most consistent angler out there," said Reinisch. "You've got to be able to catch a five-pound bag limit that is consistently good quality fish. And you go out there on the water, you look at the conditions, the water temperature what stage the bass are in and the weather, and then you adjust what you are going to be using, your baits and how you are going to fish it from on that. And from that you can kind of establish how the fish in that lake are going behave, and then you can get a pattern for when it's tournament day. And you can see the weather pattern on the tournament day and you can figure, 'OK well this is what they did earlier, so this is what they are going to be biting.'
These teams aren't just competing for trophies. They are working to help build up the fishing community in Texoma so that in the future all high school kids have the chance to compete and even have a chance to earn college scholarships.
"It just really inspires kids to get outdoors and experience something they are not used to," said Reinisch. "It's so much fun to go out there and rewarding to be able to go out there and establish a pattern and catch fish and beat all these other teams that are trying to do the same thing but you did it better. And it's just real rewarding."
"To be able to make it a sport now it's more opportunities for other students who don't do athletics and stuff like that," said Cook. "And maybe even college opportunities. But I love to fish so now to be able to do it and represent Vernon as a team, it's really cool."