Prep bass tourney update
By BRENT FRAZEE
The Kansas City Star
Picture this: a major high-school tournament that takes place on a Missouri lake instead of in a gym, stands packed with spectators watching weigh-ins, letter jackets with an emblem of a bass on the sleeve and college scholarships given out to prep standouts who know how to handle a fishing rod.
Don’t laugh. It could happen.
You have to dream big. And that’s what organizers of a move to get bass fishing recognized as a high-school sport in Missouri are doing.
They’ve reached the first goal already. The Missouri State High School Activities Association approved fishing as an “emerging activity” last spring. Now they’re building for the second goal: to have a high-school state bass tournament.
For the association to sanction the event, there would have to be 50 schools with fishing teams and three districts represented. If that core could be maintained for three years, the tournament would become a reality.
It’s not far-fetched. Illinois has had a state high school bass tournament series since the 2008-09 school year. Now Missouri fishermen such as John Neporadny thinks it’s the Show-Me State’s turn. Thirty Missouri schools have signed up, and Neporadny sees more on the horizon.
“I went to Illinois’ state tournament and I was impressed,” said Neporadny, who live in Lake Ozark, Mo. “I thought, ‘If they can do it, why can’t we?’
“We have better fishing, and we have the large reservoirs to hold tournaments. I think it would be a natural for Missouri.”
To form a team, high schools must have a coach or mentor who is a paid school employee and get the approval of the school board, Neporadny said. Then the schools would sign up with the association.
A sneak preview
Even without official recognition, one state high school bass tournament will become a reality this summer.
Bass Pro Shops will sponsor an Open Championship of High School Fishing at Table Rock Lake. It will only be open to teams that have registered with the activities association.
The tournament will be June 7-8 at Table Rock Lake and will feature two-person prep teams. Volunteer adult boat drivers, approved by each team’s school board, will transport the fishermen from spot to spot, but the young anglers will make the decisions on how and where to fish. High schools may enter as many two-person teams as they want, as long as they have the approved adult captains.
Bass Pro Shops will award scholarships of $5,000 to the winning club, $3,000 for the runner-up and $2,000 for third place To enter, go to the website http://webboutdoors.com and click on “high school.”
Opener is delayed
With ice still covering Wyandotte County Lake, Unifed Government officials have decided to delay the trout opener, which was set for March 1.
The first day of the season now is set for March 8 — and that’s assuming that the ice will melt by then.
If it isn’t gone, the opener will again be delayed. Ice fishing isn’t allowed at Wyandotte.
Outdoors legend dies
The outdoors world is mourning the loss of Dick Cabela, the co-founder of the Cabela’s chain of outdoor-equipment stores.
Cabela, 77, and his brother, Jim, hit on a successful business model that has resulted in 50 retail stores across the United States and Canada and a hugely successful catalog business.
The company got a humble start in 1961 when Dick bought $45 worth of fishing flies to sell in his family’s furniture store in Nebraska. When the flies didn’t sell, the Cabelas placed an ad in Sports Afield magazine, making an introductory offer of free flies if the buyer paid 25 cents for shipping and handling. The ad was well-received, the brothers and Dick’s wife, Mary, began selling their hand-tied flies, and the foundation of an outdoors-equipment empire was laid.
Cabela died Monday in Sidney, Neb., where his business is based.
Train the trainers
If you’re a fisherman who wants to teach others, here’s a chance to get in some spring training.
As part of the new Kansas Angler Education program, Fishing’s Future and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will offer a training class for prospective fishing instructors. The program will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 1 at the Cabela’s in Kansas City, Kan.
Participants will get tips on working with children, sample curriculum, preparing a clinic, and basic information such as rules and regulations, ethics, conservation practices and equipment.
The class is free, but advance registration is required. To sign up, go to the website fishingsfuture.org, click “upcoming events,” then “Kansas Angler Education Program.”
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to email@example.com.