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Obion County Central organizes high school fishing team

Obion County Central organizes high school fishing team

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011 9:08 pm

A few weeks back, I mentioned that a few folks were in the process of starting Obion County’s first high school bass fishing team. Well, it is official and they have started their club off in the right direction.
I’m speaking of the Obion County Central High School Bass Fishing Team, that is.
This past weekend, several members of their club traveled up to Kentucky Dam on Kentucky Lake to fish their first ever bass fishing competition.
The Student Angler Federation of Marshall County held its inaugural Marshall County Fall Open on Saturday. There were 119 students/60 boats entered in the event. The newly-formed OCSAF team entered 5 boats. The teams were Jacob Daniels and Trevor Clouse with captain Mike Terry; Blake Dawson and Hunter Carter with captain and UTM angler Alex Derry; Ryan Tucker and Dallas Mathis with captain Randy Mitchell; Todd Smith and David Rhodes with Tim Smith and a guest captain, and John Garrett with captain Johnny Garrett at the steering wheel.
I am happy to say that for their first event, overall, this team did pretty well.
The teams of Tucker/Mathis and Clouse/Daniels tied for 6th place (out of 60 boats/teams) with two fish each weighing in at 4 pounds 13 ounces. John Garrett had one fish at 2 pounds 5 ounces.
How this works is there are two young anglers from the same school/club who fish together with an adult boat captain. The boat captain drives the boat to wherever the young anglers want to fish but then the anglers will take control of the trolling motor. Boat captains are also there for safety and rules as well.
The OCCHS Bass Team has 35 club members. The school sponsors are Melanie Mitchell and Andy Salmon with Randy Mitchell serving as a volunteer sponsor.
The club meets once a month right after school to learn more about fishing and improve on their fishing techniques.  There are required lessons and tests provided by TBF that the students will complete during the meetings. These lessons link science, math and English to fishing and reinforce how doing well in school will help them in their fishing career, and it will help increase their chances in getting college fishing scholarships.
Most of the meetings this winter will include working on the lessons and having guest speakers come in and speak to the kids. Back on Oct. 7, members the University of Tennessee at Martin Collegiate Bass Fishing Team came to a meeting and worked on flipping and casting with the high school club members. Also, in the near future, Crispin Powley of Strike King Lure Co. is coming to talk to them about lures, the different types and how to know when to use each type.
They may even have a few surprise guests to show up during their meetings in months to come who fish full-time and have been doing so for many years.
The club also plans to have lessons on using the marine electronics equipment on boats and how to read topographic maps. The newly-formed club hopes to hold its own tournament in the spring. Most of the sanctioned events are held in late spring or in the summer. Local clubs will host their own tournaments and hope to participate in as many of those as possible. That is why there is such a need for volunteers willing to drive their own boat and coach the kids in the tournaments.
Officers for the newly-formed OCCHS Bass Club include president Jacob Daniels, vice president Hunter Carter, secretary Shelly Pate and treasurer Hailey Riggs.
The club also has a newly-formed website that is still under construction and should be up and running very soon. The website is On this site there is also a link to the OC Anglers, which is our support group, and anyone interested in joining to help us raising money and find volunteers is welcome to join. We plan to keep everyone updated on the progress of this great organization.
One thing this will do is help prepare kids who want to move on and fish on the next level, which will be the college level. Already, two members of the Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club in Union City and sponsored by the Reelfoot Lake Adult Bass Club has had two young fishermen who have made their way through the local club and onto better things with a scholarship for each, both at Bethel University in McKenzie. This has become a very big deal across the United States and a good way to help put a child through college. This may also open doors for them either fishing professionally or getting a job with a company that is in the fishing or outdoors industry.
So, if your child or young teen is interested in bass fishing on a competitive level or simply just learning how to fish, there are a couple of options right here in Obion County — the Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club and the Obion County Central High School Bass Team. I can get you in touch with either.
By the time you read this column, one local avid bass angler that I wrote about earlier this year is fishing the largest event of his life to date. Karl Cassens of South Fulton — along with another former Obion Countian Howard Poitevint of Bainbridge, Ga. — will be fishing and competing on the co-angler side of the Everstart National Championship Tournament. Howard worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Reelfoot Lake back in the early 1970s and is one of a few — apart from my dad — who taught me bass fishing at an early age.
This tournament is being fished on Kentucky Lake out of the Paris Landing State Park Marina this week through Sunday.
On the co-angler side (non-boater), both of these guys will be fishing against the top 40 co-anglers from not only their division but the other four divisions with a total of 5 divisions fishing the tournament on the pro and co-angler side. The top 40 in the end of the year points standings fishing from each division. In other words, 200 professionals and 200 co-anglers will be fishing with a total combined of 400 anglers.
Co-anglers will be fishing for a Ranger Boat and $5,000, while on the professional side of the tournament they will be fishing for $50,000 and a fully rigged Ranger Boat.
Blastoffs will be a 7 a.m. daily at the Paris Landing Marina with weigh-ins at the marina on both Thursday and today. Then the final two days the weigh-ins will be held at the local Walmart there in Paris. FLW Outdoors will have its fishing Expo set up on Saturday and Sunday for the entire family. This is free and open to the public. Lots of neat stuff there to see and do. Good luck Karl and Howard.
Another thing I would like to remind everyone of is that since we are in a season changing pattern from hot to warm to cooler to cold weather temps, dressing properly for the day you have chosen to be in the outdoors is very important.
As my dad, Lanny, and the late R.B. Perry always told me, “Son, you can always take off what you have but you can’t put on what you don’t have.” This is quite true. I carry way to much clothing sometimes and wear too much but somedays I’m really glad I did.
So wear a base layer even on days where temps might get into the 60s or lower 70s for highs but at the same time the mornings low temperatures might have been in the 30s. You can always shed what you don’t need.
I will have a column soon on how to prepare for your day in the outdoors with the right clothing. Stay tuned.
Depending on the rains we had at mid- to late week will determine if Reelfoot Lake comes up much at all. We need a fast rain and I think that day will come hopefully soon for the waterfowl hunters on area lakes and rivers. Once the ground gets soaked, then runoff is more likely.
Waters have continued to cool down and the crappie bite is slowly getting better and better. Water temps ranges in the low to middle 60s.
Dad went crappie fishing on Monday and had a decent day with his catch coming off of the Strike King Rage Grubs tipped with Berkley Crappie Nibbles.
No report on bass or anything else.
Dad did say the lake remains very low and very slow navigation is advised. Make sure you have your cell phone and a push or pull pole in your boat just in case you get on a stump and have trouble getting off.
Please continue to let me or the folks at the Messenger’s office of anything dealing with the outdoors that you might want to share with others. I can be reached at 731-446-3678 or
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.

Published in The Messenger 10.28.11

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