PICKENS, S.C. (WSPA) – When you think of school sports, you may think of football, basketball, and even lacrosse, but what about bass fishing?
Bass fishing at the high school level has become increasingly popular in the state of South Carolina, especially at Pickens High School.
Pickens just had two anglers compete in the Bass Master High School Championship last weakened on Lake Hartwell.
“I just don’t think people realize what it takes out of you, being on the water all day. People think oh it’s fishing it’s fun, but there’s a lot to it,” Pickens High School fishing team advisor Kayla McCollum said.
It was the first time South Carolina hosted the tournament, but the sport is still not sanctioned by the South Carolina High School League.
Without a sanction, fishing doesn’t get the same benefits that sanctioned sports; like football or basketball do.
The state high school league commissioner, Jerome Singleton, says there are a few requirements.
“You have to have a minimum 16 member schools sponsoring teams, and then that is presented to the executive committee requesting that it’d be offered a state championship,” Singleton said.
There are mixed emotions about the issue.
“I’m not sure that being sanctioned would benefit as much as we might think in the beginning. I think it would be too restrictive,” another Pickens High School fishing team advisor, Glenda Lofink said.
But would lead to more credibility and support.
“High school league sanctioning might bring more colleges out to see our kids,” Lofink said.
Both LoFink and McCollum say they just want people to give fishing the credit it deserves
“My son also plays on the football team, so he plays a high school-sanctioned sport. He puts as much effort in being on the football team and playing on Friday nights as he does to each tournament he goes into. It’s at a different level but it’s still the same amount of effort and time,” McCollum said.
The S.C High School League commissioner says he doesn’t have a strong opinion on whether or not it should become a sanctioned sport but says any addition to the league that would provide an educational experience to students is a good thing.