Fishin' for fun

By Meghan Doyle

Senior Kevin Trefelner poses with a fish he caught in bass fishing club.

Executive News Editor
There are plenty of obscure sports recognized by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA); however, one has recently taken precedence at Prospect. Bass fishing, while a club at Prospect, is actually an IHSA sport, which consists of Saturday tournaments in the spring.
This year, there are eight to nine students involved with the club. Careers and Technology Education (CTE) teacher Tim Schaap offered his time, his expertise and his boat for the benefit of the club, along with math teacher Jim Hamann.
Schaap has participated in tournament fishing on his own, so he was open to sponsoring the club when a few students went to Associate Principal Greg Minter, requesting that Prospect get involved with the sport around four years ago.
Because there is no convenient lake on which to practice, it is up to the fishers to practice on their own, with their own fishing equipment. Most typically drive the 45 minutes to the Chain O’ Lakes in Spring Grove, Ill.
“We don’t have a lake out our back door, so, as far as practicing, there’s a lot of little ponds around here, but it’s up to you,” Schaap said.
At their periodic meetings, which are usually held every few months, according to junior and club president Kyle Mikosz, the students watch instructional videos of professional fishers and learn new techniques that will help prepare them for any upcoming tournaments.
Tournaments usually take a full day, with four or five hours to fish, depending on the tournament. While the coaches are required to be in the boats with the kids — there are two students in each boat — it is up to the students to catch as many bass as possible and keep them alive, using an aerated live well, before the judging.
At judging, each boat presents their top five biggest bass for the weigh-in. If the fish are not alive when weighed, the team is penalized. Once weighed, the bass are thrown back into the lake.
All participant schools are welcomed at the sectional meet, while only the top three boats make it to the state meet. Prospect came in fourth at the sectional in 2010.
However, for the fishers, it’s not the ranking that counts.
“When that fish hits, your adrenaline just goes nuts,” Schaap said.
Mikosz, who has been fishing for around 10 years, agrees.
“The fight of when you catch the fish [is] really just an adrenaline rush,” Mikosz said. “I enjoy it.”
Mikosz had his biggest adrenaline rush his freshman year, when Prospect placed fourth in the sectional meet because the team used the lures Mikosz prepared to reel in the biggest fish.
Both Mikosz and Schaap have been trying to get the word out about bass fishing club, through the morning announcements, the TV screens around school, a booth at freshman orientation and simply word of mouth.
Mikosz said his little brother and his friends would be interested in the club when they come to Prospect, and the club might also host their first tournament on the Chain O’ Lakes to spur interest.
Either way, Schaap hopes to keep it going for the benefit of the kids, whether they are able to earn scholarships or just discover an enjoyable pastime.
“As a coach, you like to see your students do good and maybe pursue fishing, along with an education,” Schaap said.
Today, the team is competing in their sectional meet.