Fishing as a High School Sport?

The legacy of Ray Scott continues.

On the heels of last year’s inaugural event, the second annual National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship (NCBFC) is on tap for next week, Sept. 27 – 29 at Lake Lewisville near Dallas, Texas. There, 100 two-person teams representing 50 schools and universities from 20 states are expected to compete for the 2007 title.

And in Illinois, the association that approves and oversees sports played at high schools across the state is considering sanctioning fishing competition among schools in The Land of Lincoln. B8d096b188214caaa3f0b45d47cada70

According to an article in yesterday’s Chicago Sun Times by outdoors writer Dale Bowman, Illinois may be “within a year or two” of becoming the first state in the nation to sanction fishing as a high school sport, putting it on the same level as basketball, football and baseball.

Could Ray Scott, the visionary entrepreneur who founded the Bass Angler Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) 40 years ago, ever imagined that his concept of catch and release, competitive fishing would have come so far in his lifetime?

According to Bowman’s article, Illinois is just a couple of sponsors away from making the high school competition a reality.

“We have reached out to some folks who can make this happen,” said Marty Hickman, executive director of the Illinois High School Association. “The ball is more in our court.”

Ball? Make that the bass, Marty. And it’s in the lake, not on the court.

IHSA officials are currently looking into rules and logistics, including how fishing boats would likely be operated by adults who could also serve as volunteer fishing coaches.

Bowman noted that such an undertaking would take lots of manpower and assistance, but he accurately observed that when it comes to the outdoors, generally there is no shortage of enthusiastic volunteers willing to introduce youngsters to pursuits like fishing and hunting.

Me? I’m still wondering where the pom-pom girls and cheerleaders would fit in. But the pep rallies would surely be a blast.

“Hey hey! Ho ho! Old Bucketmouth has got to go!!”