Whats Right With Schools

Competitive Fishing is Catching on at Connecticut High Schools

(WTNH) - It's common to find teenagers "fishing" during summer break, but we caught up with anglers taking their passion to another level.

A crank, a trip down the boat launch, and onto the water. Its a fast growing high school sport that's taking off across Connecticut.

Competitive fishing in the Connecticut Bass Nation Youth Program. Teacher John Piscioniere says the youth fishing program is tied to the biggest fishing tournament there is, Bassmasters.

"You've probably seen the Bassmasters, which is the Super Bowl of fishing. It's all part of that organization."

There are over 50 anglers in Connecticut representing 17 different high schools, like Michael Browning, from RHAM High School in Hebron.

"I realised that I loved it," Browning said.

It's not your typical high school sport.

"This is different from all high school sports because anyone can compete. You don't have to try out. It's a really special good thing for high school kids."

Anna Demagistris is one of the few female anglers this year.

"I know it's not for anyone, where you can be with people that you are friends with an have a good time. It's a good way to help get through high school," said Demagistris.

Each student is paired with a captain who give up their time to guide the students along the way. Greg Mazur, of Plainville, is a captain.

"Some of our students, one has gone onto a pro career. Another is looking at a pro career in a fishing industry ,and us boat captains feel like we had something to do with it."

Volunteer captains provide their boats and their experience. Captain Noah Winslow says it's another way to get on the water.

"It's a big commitment, but im doing what i love and hopefully what the kids love too. For me, its just another day on the water."

Just like other sports, there are local winners, and national championships. Student Patrick Walsh said the competition was exciting.

"My freshman year we placed second. We qualified for nationals. We ended up going to Kentucky Lake. It was alot of fun. It was huge, over 200 boats."

Plus, there are scholarships available for after high school. Piscioniere said, "college fishing has become very very big."

But believe or not, it's not all about catching fish.

"We require volunteerism," Piscioniere said. "It's not just about competition. It's about community, and really working together."

If you are interested in the youth program of the CT B.A.S.S. Nation please contact Youth Director John Piscioniere at 203-982-0921 or via email to john.piscioniere@adp.com

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