Basskats cast wide net for success

Competition team will fish next tournament March 11


photo or infographic by Basskats

WOO HOO. Dressed to keep warm during the cold day on the lake, sophomore Mason Lightfoot almost hits the 10 pound mark at Toledo Bend. Lightfoot fishes with sophomore Mark Smith for the Basskats.

Lake Limestone. Lake Conroe. Lake Sam Rayburn. These all sound like nice places to camp with the family or spend a relaxing day with skiing and watersports. 

But for the members of the Basskats, these places are the venues for competition. They are the outlets for their passion. This is their place to represent their school in the sport they love the most: bass fishing.

The team has worked all season to keep in the top of the rankings. They will compete next at Lake Limestone on March 11.

“It’s a fun experience to be on the fishing team,” sophomore Connor Minchew said. “ If you have a boat or find someone with a boat, then I’d recommend you join.”

ALL ABOUT THAT BASS. Showing off their results at Toledo Bend sophomore Mallori Mitchell and freshman Reed Ragan caught five fish with a total of 12.68 pounds. (photo or infographic by Basskats)

The fishers crave the rush when making a big catch.

“I like fishing because anytime I catch a fish it’s kind of addicting,” sophomore Mallori Mitchell said. “It makes me want to keep going.”

Leading the team is the combo of Johnny Hudson and Garrett Wilson. They are currently ranked ninth in the Bayou City division of the Texas High School Bass Association. Like most competitors, they have to scout their spots before competitions. 

“I always prepare by going out on the lake a couple of weeks prior and the Friday before,” sophomore Garret Wilson said. “This helps me figure out where the fish are and how I will catch them.”

On competition day, the anglers have an early start and the competition ends late in the afternoons. 

“Preparation for competition really starts the day before,” junior Colton Bearden said. “You want to get all your rods ready for the morning because you have to wake up early. I wake up around 4:00 a.m. on a tournament day, and we get to the boat ramp around 5:30 a.m. We launch the boat at 6:00 a.m., the first cast is at 7:00 a.m. and the final cast is at 3:00 p.m.”

There is a question about whether or not fishing is a sport, but being on the lake for hours on end takes stamina, preparing, skill and luck. 

LEADER OF THE PACK. Weighing in an impressive catch, sophomore Garrett Wilson ends the day at the Toledo Bend tournament. (photo or infographic by Basskats )

“I push myself as far as I can go because there are tournaments where I’ll be fishing for a whole week straight from dusk till dawn and that takes endurance,” Wilson said. “And just as other sports like baseball or football you have to practice to get better and that’s the same with fishing.”

The fact that the competition must stay silent on the boat is just a rumor. While on the lake fishermen can talk as much as they want.

“You don’t have to be quiet at all, but slamming things down isn’t the way to go,” freshman Reed Ragan said. “That’s just what your parents tell you when they want you to be quiet.”

Fishing competitively can be a stepping stone to a career on the lake. Being seen by sponsors and other competitors can help make connections to a professional career.

“I like being on the fishing team because when I get older, I’m trying to go pro,” sophomore Minchew said. “And it’s not more of a money thing, It’s more of a passion. So I like doing it every day.”