JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
HORSESHOE BAY — Several hundred high school anglers will descend upon the area beginning March 14 for the Texas Bass Federation state tournament.
The event will be conducted at first light March 15 on Lake LBJ starting at the Granite Beach Grill, 200 Wirtz Dam Road.
Members of the high school fishing club in Marble Falls will be in attendance.
“It was a good turnout last year,” Marble Falls High School senior Ben Stripling said. “I think it’ll be better this year. Being on our home lake is so much better. It means a lot. It’s really cool.”
Faith Academy of Marble Falls senior Austin Ellis, Stripling’s partner, was equally enthusiastic to have the event back on the club’s home lake.
That’s because it takes a large group of people to put on the event including the business community, parents, the boat captains, the officials to weigh the fish and the anglers.
“We have the power to expand our club,” he said. “We also invite people from West Texas, North Texas, East Texas.”
Because of fishing competitions, Ellis said he has made a lot of friends, noting he respects not only their skill on the water but also how they represent themselves, their teams and their families on dry land.
“It’s an absolute blessing,” he said. “We fish a lot of tournaments together. We fish a lot of tournaments against each other.”
If he could, Stripling said he’d change one part of the tournament: the order the anglers get on the lake.
Each two-person group draws a number, he said. So if a team draws a high number, they have to wait longer to get on the lake.
“If you plan to go to a fishing spot, there might be someone sitting there,” he said. “But Lake LBJ is a big body of water.”
Ellis called fishing on his home lake a curse.
“Too much knowledge on this lake is a bad thing,” he said. “I can go to all these places. I have 250 to 300 lake points marked. They’re weight points marked with technology. Too much of one thing is a bad thing.”
Stripling and Ellis did some advance work at the lake such as taking the temperature, examining the shallow points and looking at the location of minnows, bait and other wildlife.
“It’s good to know where the population of fish are,” Stripling said. “You don’t want to go and fish a random spot. As far as water temperature, the higher it is, the better the fishing is going to be. Fish like the warmer water.”
“All fish want to be in shallow water,” Ellis said. “We’re going to fish it the way we were taught.”
He emphasized the importance of this tournament.
“I’m basically giving all my Spring Break to this tournament. It’s ridiculous how serious I am about this. This is what I love, it’s what I love doing.”