High School Bass Tournaments, Don’t Be Intimidated!
By Zach Veilhauer
Hello my name is Zach Vielhauer and I am a High School angler from Kansas. I started fishing youth bass tournaments when I was 10 years old. But, I have loved fishing since I was old enough to hold a fishing rod. My Dad and Grandpa first got me hooked fishing for crappie from the shore and off the dock. I later learned how to fish out of the boat and moved onto fishing for bass.
In 2013, I was fortunate enough to win the TBF Youth State Championship. Currently I fish in Kansas High School Bass tournaments all over the state. My partner and I are the current 2016 B.A.S.S. High School State Champions from Kansas. We have won and placed in many events put on throughout the state at the high school level. Next week we are going to be fishing the B.A.S.S. High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.
In the future I am planning on going to Kansas State University and joining their fishing team as a collegiate angler. Fishing is not just a hobby it is a lifestyle.
Getting into high school bass fishing can be a very intimidating task. There are several things that can make this easier. First thing is to contact your state B.A.S.S. or TBF director, they will know who you should contact next to get into a club in your area. Once you find a club in your area go to their meetings and get involved. Remember you do not need fancy tackle and lots of rods. Take it a step at a time, the gear will come with time. If you have a boat or can find a partner with a boat it will be much easier for you to get time on the water. The point of the club is to make friends and have a good time fishing.
High school tournaments are not too much different than team adult tournaments. Each high school team is made up of two high school anglers and a boater coach. You are fishing as a team so remember it does not always matter who catches all the fish. In high school tournaments you are fishing for a five fish limit of black bass. The boater coach does not fish. They are there to make sure that the anglers are safe and follow the rules. Depending on the organization, the boater is allowed to do different things. Fishing high school tournaments does not have to be as scary as most people think.
There are a few things that I have learned over the years that will help you become a better angler. First, focus on having fun. We are all out there to enjoy the outdoors and have a little friendly competition. Second, people are too worried about getting on pro staffs. Getting on a pro staff can be beneficial, but they require a lot of effort. The best pro staff opportunities are if the company comes to you. Third, always watch the other people in your boat because you may learn something new. Sometimes people will catch fish behind you just by doing something different than you. It might be as little as a slight twitch but it puts fish in the boat and that’s what matters. Those are just a few things to help you become a better angler.
I hope that this helps you get to know me a little better, as well as give you some insider tips on how to approach high school fishing.
Zach Veilhauer is 17 and a senior at Shawnee Mission Northwest and is passionate about getting on the water to fish as anybody we have ever met. He will be contributing articles and videos on a regular basis here on Trophy Bass Company.com about High School bass fishing, the challenges of youth fishing, and tips to help young anglers be better fishermen.