Bass fishing reels in valuable lessons


Matt Snow

NICE CATCH: Freshman Alex Pillath holds up a fish he caught at practice on Busse Lake on May 1 preparing for sectionals. The team has the home advantage at sectionals which take place today in Busse Woods. State will take place at Carlyle Lake in Carlyle May 20-21.

Evan Hatfield, Editor-in-Chief

In the world of high school sports, activities such as fishing tend to be overlooked.

For Coach Matt Snow and his bass fishing team, though, the sport is a way of life.

The team has students from all grades and, according to Snow, “all walks of life.”

The rules can vary slightly from tournament to tournament, but the basic format remains the same.

“Generally, you enter a boat with two or three kids to fish,” Snow said. “You’re allowed to keep… five bass either above 12 inches or 14 inches.”

The height is not what determines the winner, however.

“They weigh [the bass] live, and they put them back in the lake,” Snow said. “[The] highest weight wins.” The rewards for the team are worth the time.

“Usually, [tournaments] are pretty heavily sponsored by fishing companies, so the prizes are pretty significant,” Snow said.

Perhaps even more so than other sports, the weather is a major factor in fishing – already two tournaments for the team have been cancelled because of snow or rain.

“Weather has definitely messed us up,” Snow said. “Wind can stop you. Snow can stop you. There’s no ‘alternate’ place to go.”

However, an even more significant concern for the team has been the lack of a boat.

“We don’t have a school boat, and I don’t own a boat, so we are very heavily dependent on parental help,” Snow said.

Fortunately, the team has not had to worry as much this year.

“Currently, I have a volunteer coach… He has gone through the paperwork [so] we are able to use his boat,” Snow said. “Having this coach helps because we actually have a dependable boat.” With the team so reliant on parents, losing a senior is

biting in more ways than one. “Every couple years, there’s a turnover [in coaches] based on when people graduate,” Snow said. “It’s not just

losing a senior; it’s losing a senior and his dad.” With the team being small, availability becomes

especially important. “Scheduling is difficult because tournaments are

typically Saturday mornings or Sundays,” Snow said. “Most of my job ends up being trying to figure out who’s available when.”

Finding people to join the team is also important for Snow, particularly in one area.

“I encourage more girls to join,” Snow said. “Our female presence has been sparse… It would be nice to get people of the opposite sex involved.”

Senior Dalton Renner takes a broader approach to the matter.

“We just need people who are dedicated enough to go out and fish,” Renner said. “It would be really good, so that we can actually have people out in Busse Woods doing stuff.”

The team has been entering multiple tournaments that they have not taken part in before.

“We don’t have a ton of experience in those tournaments, so I don’t necessarily expect us to win,” Snow said.

Winning, however, is hardly as important a factor as experience.

“At this point [in] building the program, my job is to try and get kids out on as many lakes as often as possible so that we, as a group, learn and get better,” Snow said.

Even on bad days, it’s worth it.

“You go out, you fish, and you don’t catch a single thing, but you still enjoy what you’re doing,” Renner said.

The lessons learned go far beyond the edges of the lake.

“I’d like to say I had patience beforehand, but now I really know the meaning of patience,” Renner said. “You don’t always get what you want.”