PICKENS, SC (WSPA) – When you think of school sports you might think of soccer, basketball and even lacrosse, but what about bass fishing?
High school level bass fishing is growing in popularity in the state of South Carolina, particularly at Pickens High School.
Pickens had just fielded two anglers in the recently weakened Bass Master High School Championship at Lake Hartwell.
“I just don’t think people know what it takes to be on the water all day. People think, oh, fishing is fun, but there’s a lot behind it,” said Kayla McCollum, counselor for the Pickens High School fishing team.
It was South Carolina’s first time hosting the tournament, but the sport is still not sanctioned by the South Carolina High School League.
Without a sanction, fishing doesn’t have the same benefits as sanctioned sports; like soccer or basketball.
State high school league commissioner Jerome Singleton says there are some requirements.
“They have to have at least 16 member schools that sponsor teams, and then that gets taken to the executive committee, which asks that it be offered a state championship,” Singleton said.
There are mixed feelings on the subject.
“I’m not sure sanctioning would bring as many benefits as we might initially think. I think it would be too restrictive,” said another counselor on the Pickens High School fishing team, Glenda Lofink.
But would lead to more credibility and support.
“High school league sanctioning could get more colleges to see our kids,” Lofink said.
Both LoFink and McCollum say they just want people to give fishing the recognition it deserves
“My son also plays on the soccer team, so he plays a high school sanctioned sport. He puts in as much effort into being on the soccer team and playing on Friday nights as he does into any tournament he attends. It’s on a different level, but it’s still the same effort and time,” McCollum said.
The SC High School League commissioner says he has no clear opinion on whether or not it should become a sanctioned sport, but says any addition to the league that would provide students with an educational experience is a good thing.