JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
Four years ago, such an event might not have taken place in the Highland Lakes. But that changed when the fishing club at Marble Falls High School was started through the efforts of several parents.
At the time, the club was one of the few in Central Texas. And it created a ripple effect.
Mark Gintert, the national youth director for The Bass Federation, said the timing couldn’t have been better to start a high school club. Around the time Marble Falls began one, The Bass Federation had made the commitment to get the sport into high schools, he said.
“(Marble Falls) has been one of the building blocks,” he said. “They’ve been a great model. I’d say Marble Falls is one of those that put value in it.”
Since the club was so unique at the time, Austin-area students competed on the Marble Falls team. That inspired those students and parents to contact their school administrators to learn how to begin clubs at their own campuses.
Two of them, Brian Anderson, who is the parent coordinator of the Lake Travis High School bass team, and Billy Wright, coach of the Hyde Park High School bass team, say when they had questions, they called Lorna Ellis.
Ellis, along with her husband, Bryan, and son, Austin, were the first to go to Marble Falls Independent School District officials to start a fishing club.
“I called Lorna and found out how to do it,” Anderson said. “We went to one of their tournaments and saw how it was run. We patterned it after that.”
Most of the clubs participate in a monthly tournament by either hosting one or traveling to one, which is what the Marble Falls club does.
Anderson said another item on the to-do list was to get businesses to agree to be sponsors of the club, another Marble Falls club staple.
“Lorna Ellis was a help,” he said.
Wright said his son, Tyler, decided to start a fishing club after the two and a high school fishing buddy competed in a Marble Falls club fishing tournament at its invitation three years ago.
Just like the Andersons, the Wrights spoke to school district officials about the process of starting a local club.
“Twelve kids showed interest and signed up,” Wright said. “Since then, we’ve grown to 16 members. We’ve been fishing a whole bunch since then.”
Ellis has been contacted by parents and coordinators across the state, including the Bass High School Academy in Leander, which at one time had about 70 student-anglers.
“Nobody in the Austin area had a team at that time,” Wright said. “I don’t know that we would have at that time. There’s just not that many opportunities for fishing club tournaments, there were no organized tournaments. I credit (Marble Falls) for getting that started.”
Had it not been for the trip to Marble Falls, would a Hyde Park fishing club exist?
“No, no, no, no, never considered it,” Wright said.
Texas High School State Fishing Championship results
HORSESHOE BAY — Almost 270 fish were caught during the 2015 Texas High School State Fishing Championship at Lake LBJ on March 21.
The total weight was 752.13 pounds.
Marble Falls High School senior Wes Thornley was the winner of the tournament’s Big Bass award for catching the heaviest fish at 10 pounds.
The team of Austin Pegues and Dylan Frailey was the best finisher for the fishing club at Marble Falls High School. The duo’s five fish weighed 16 pounds to tie for 14th.
OVERALL RESULTS (269 total fish caught): 1, Chase Hux and Matt Nicholas (Wildcat Fishing Team), 26.15 (five fish); 2, Justin Tatum and Hunter Garrett (Cen-Tex High School Basshunters), 26.07 (five); 3, Tyler Easley and Tara Reid (Cen-Tex High School Basshunters), 22.14 (five); 4, Logan Stone and Logan Drake (Cen-Tex High School Basshunters), 21.05 (five); 5, Tyler Anderson and Clark Mannas (Lake Travis High School), 21.04 (five)
MARBLE FALLS RESULTS: 14t, Austin Pegues and Dylan Frailey, 16.0 (five); 17, Dylan Petrosky and Tucker Oosse, 15.09 (five); 25t, Wyatt Deans and Chris Hooten, 13.05 (five); 25t, Jarrett Robertson and Chase Maddox, 13.05 (five); 27, Keegan Stroud and Calvin Todd, 13.03 (five); 37, Colby Orton and Kameron Wright, 10.04 (five); 39, (BIG BASS winner) Wes Thornton and Jakob Thornton, 10.0 (1); 40, Lyle Schmidt and Blake Lilly, 9.15 (four); 55, Alex Bennett and Michael Blade, 5.03 (three); 57, Jake Meadows and Jack Degolier, 4.13 (one); 60, Kevin Duggins and Brandon Duggins, 3.14 (two); 62, Connor White and Layton White, 2.13 (three)