CLEVELAND, Minn. (KEYC) -Earlier this week we shared how areas in southern Minnesota are taking part the relatively new idea of competitive fishing as a high school sport. With three new teams in the local area alone the growth of this sport is showing to be exponential.
“I actually got some statistics from B.A.S.S. nation and when they first held the first B.A.S.S. nation tournament there were only 10 boats that were in the state tournament and now there’s over 100 boats in the state tournament so it continues to grow in the last few years it’s grown 10,000 percent,” Kelly Kennedy, St. Peter organizer, said.
“There’s a lot of new competition, everyone’s starting to like it I guess, once they catch a fish it’s kind of fun," Roen Anderson, Lake Crystal Area angler, said.
“It’s grown by just seeing kids from southern Minnesota going big and end up going pro and going all around the world and being on a national team and it makes younger kids want to look up to them and want to become them,” Brogan Hanson, St. Peter angler, said.
“I think at this tournament last year we had seven or nine teams in the greater south conference and now we have 53 so its grown quite a bit, almost to the point where there’s too many but you don’t want to ever say that but it’s definitely gained in strength and that’s at the professional level all the way down to the college and college fishing and there’s people going on doing great things at the college level, all the way down to the high school level and actually the junior too, in junior high. It’s a great thing, a great way to get out in the water and enjoy Minnesota, 10,000 lakes,” Charlie Freitag, St. Clair coach, said.
“We’ve seen lots of new technology and a lot more awareness on social media for fishing and there’s a bigger culture for it and there’s a lot more people on social media posting about fishing and we’re starting to get a lot more kids in the younger generations getting into fishing,” Sander Ludeman, Lake Crystal Area angler, said.
Many of these anglers plan to continue fishing well after their high school career.
“I’m definitely going to keep fishing tournaments after high school, I’m definitely going to try to fish on a college team and my goal is to try to go pro,” Mason Theissen, Lake Crystal Area angler, said.
“I really want to keep fishing in college and just fishing the rest of my life,” Hanson said.
“Oh yeah, I’ll fish forever,” Alex Freitag, St. Clair angler, said.