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Newport High School Starts State’s First Student Bass Fishing Club

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Newport High School junior Jack “JT” Long makes a presentation about the bass club to the Newport School Board Monday evening.
 (Miner photo|Sophia Aldous)
By Sophia Aldous | Of The MinerMar 08, 2017

 

NEWPORT – Newport High School and one determined junior classman is spearheading the advent of the first high school bass fishing club in Washington state. The Newport School board made it official at their meeting Monday, March 6. 

“We need the district’s approval and support so kids can qualify for college scholarships,” said junior Jack “JT” Long, who according to NHS principal Troy Whittle, has been lobbying for more than a year to get a student fishing club started in Newport. 

“He came to me with the idea when he was a sophomore and I liked it, so I told him to think about it some more and come back if we was really serious about doing it,” recalled Whittle. “Well, he kept coming back and coming back and I finally said to Geoff (Pearson, Assistant principal and Athletic Director), ‘You know, I think he’s serious about this.’” 

The club will be registered through The Bass Federation (TBF) Student Angler Federation, a nationwide educational program that introduces students to fishing and highlights career and educational opportunities through fishing. It is not affiliated with the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association), like other high school sports. 

Long said the club needs about $500 to become an actuality. It would receive some funds from the high school’s Associated Student Body (ASB) fund, fundraisers, and sponsors. The students will partner with the Pend Oreille Bass Club who will lend boats to the club to fish from. Long’s father, Steve Long, will serve as the club’s coach and Travis Stott will be the supervisor. 

In order to be part of the club, students must pay an annual fee of $25 so that the club itself and any volunteer who participates in a club event are covered by liability insurance. Each student automatically qualifies for the High School Fishing World Finals held this year June 27 through July 1 in Florence, Ala., on Lake Pickwick. 

For the NHS Bass Club, there will be a total of four tournaments throughout the season and there will be practice two to three times a month. 

“Obviously, there is some expectation that any student that wants to be involved will have parents that are willing to pay some transportation costs to got to tournaments and compete,” Whittle said. “Personally, I was surprised that no other school has gotten on to this bandwagon. Someone just has to be the first to put their stamp on it.” 

Coach Steve Long added that the club utilizes and promotes one of Pend Oreille Valley’s most important assets: water. 

“We have one of the most valuable resources there is, which is the river,” he said. “It’s practically right outside our front door, not to mention all the lakes we have in Pend Oreille County alone. Not very many other high schools can say this.” 

A meeting was recently held at the high school and organized by Jack Long to gauge student interest in a fishing club. Around 20 students attended the meeting and said they would join if one were formed. The club is open to all genders in grades 9th through 12th grade. 

“Did any girls come to the meeting?” asked Newport School Board Vice Chairwoman Connie Moore. 

“Sadly, no,” quipped Long. 

The first fishing tournament of the season is scheduled at Lake Washington near Seattle on April 9. 

For more information, go to www.highschoolfishing.org.