A gym class for bass

The potential for student anglers to continue with the sport is also growing, as colleges continue to sponsor teams of Bass Anglers. For the past four years, the National Collegiate Bass Anglers Championships have attracted teams from many of the nation's finest schools.

As the nation's top professional bass anglers continue to tout Lake Champlain's amazing fishery, the potential to host local high school teams spans the region from Whitehall to Rouses Point and inland from Saranac Lake to Old Forge.

Imagine the scene, as college scouts gather at the Northern New York High School Bass Weigh-In with promises of scholarships for the Finalists. Anything's possible. Maybe kids won't have to skip school to go fishing in the future and maybe flippin' sticks will replace lacrosse sticks in gym class.

Once you get over the unlikely prospect of a student lettering in bass fishing or getting a scholarship to fish for some Division I school, consider this: Bass fishing already has become a recognized high school activity in Illinois. And a group of fishermen in the bass-rich Ozarks are pushing for the sport to gain the same status in Missouri.

"I know I would have had more interest in school if there had been a bass fishing team," said John Neporadny of Lake Ozark, Mo., a nationally known outdoors writer. "This has the potential to bring in a whole new group of kids who hadn't been involved in sports before."

The concept already has been endorsed in Illinois, the first state to offer bass fishing as a state-sanctioned high-school activity. This spring, 214 of the 775 Illinois high schools will compete in a tournament series to determine a state champion.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

DEC Notes

Outdoor travelers should take note of several recent announcements that will affect anglers, hunters, boaters and paddlers.

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