Fishy Competition

Newfound Bass Team made a splash in this year's competition season.

Hailey Woodman, Staff Writer

 

At BHS, students can choose to participate in a variety of extracurriculars, from Anime Club to yearbook. However, this past sports season, The Bass Team quietly competed in fishing competitions and made it all the way to the State championship.

Put together last fall, the Bass Team makes an appearance at fishing competitions within two hours from Biddeford. This year marks the third year that high school students can competitively fish in Maine. Junior Thomas Behen competes regularly with the bass team.

“The Maine (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) BASS nation puts on a state championship every year,” said Behen.  “There the top two finishers go to a central location and compete against the top two finishers from each high school. There the winners get scholarships.”

Made up of four students, the Bass Team partners themselves into two teams of two and competes under the supervision of a “coach”.

“[The competition] is two students on a boat with an adult as the captain, the captain is our ‘coach’,” said Behen.  “Only the students fish but the captain can suggest things to do.”

On October 11, the Bass Team, a student-made fishing team, competed at Cobbossee Stream in Gardiner, Maine for the opportunity to compete at the state level. Behen competed at the tournament with the help of his captain and junior Mitchell Farley.

“The Saturday before the tournament a cold front moved through and all the fish went to very deep water,” said Behen. “It’s hard for young [people] to fish deep [waters], [we] went pre-fishing three times before the tournament, but the cold front moved through and we couldn’t find them [on competition day].”

However, the cold waters didn’t seem to stop junior Reid Lavigne, as he caught enough fish to get him and his partner, freshmen Vincent Seaboyer into the overall third place spot.

“I had a five fish limit and the weight was 7.29 [pounds],” said Lavigne. “Probably the best memory this year was taking third in the State with my partner.”

At tournaments, fishers must follow specific rules and regulations in order to ensure that their catch is legal; junior Mitchell Farley seems to know all of the rules by heart.

“The competitions [begin] with a start time when all of the boats can leave,” said Farley. “There is a designated time of arrival that you must be back at the boat launch for. Depending on the tournament, you can be deducted in your catches total weight [if you’re not back on time].”

For freshmen Vincent Seaboyer, this season was his first competing on the waters at the high school level and he feels as if he couldn’t have competed as well without the help of his partner Reid.

“I had a lot of fun on the water with Reid,” said Seaboyer. “He’s taught me a lot about fishing this year and I’m glad he was my partner.”

With Lavigne being one of the older fishers on the team, he feels that he leaves a positive influence on some of his younger teammates, like Seaboyer.

“I think some of the younger kids look up to me because they always ask me to fish with them and help them out,” Lavigne said.

The overall weight of fish caught by each pair of fishers determines the winner of a competition. Only the five heaviest fish that measure over 12 inches long can be used in these calculations.

“Competing is a lot of fun, [fishing] isn’t very similar to the other sports I play,” said Farley. “For fishing you have to be more calm and persistent while in a tournament.”

Unlike other sports teams offered at BHS, the Bass Team doesn’t have a specified season like most fall sports do, and they don’t practice on a daily basis either.

“We don’t have practices and the tournaments vary from lake to lake,” said Lavigne. “The season runs from when the ice melts at the end of winter until the ice forms again the following winter.”

Since fishing is a sport that requires being outdoors, these athletes tend to find themselves outside on the open waters more often than on the cold hard ground.

“It’s nice to be out and enjoying the outdoors,” said Farley. “But [fishing] is a bit nerve racking and there’s some pressure involved in tournaments.”

Similarly to other athletes, these fishers feel pressured to compete to the best of their abilities at each competition.

“There’s a lot of pressure [in fishing],” said Lavigne. “You just have to keep casting!”IMG_1440