By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is a sport coming to its conclusion this Sunday, and it is one growing in popularity.

Fishing. You read right, fishing.

It is a club-type sport right now, bass only, with apps they can follow in the boat as a scoreboard.

One-hundred-twenty-six qualifiers will take a shot this week in a sport that makes perfect sense for Minnesota.

In some respects, it makes sense In fact, in Minnesota you could say I can’t believe it took this long to create competition for one of our favorite pastimes.

That is what they are in the process of doing, creating a league for kids who want to participate in something non-traditional as a sport; tradition rich as an outdoor sport.

high school competitive fishing High School Fishing Teams On The Rise In The Land Of 10,000 Lakes

(credit: CBS)

“I wasn’t able to play contact sports, so I decided to join the fishing team because I life fishing, and [it’s] something I can do that was also at the school and still competitive,” said high school fisherman Zach Hapka.

Teams are preparing this week for their state tournament, which will be held Sunday on Lake Minnetonka. These teams love to prepare.

“A lot of pre-fishing, finding spots, and just mentally preparing yourself,” said team member T.J. Ringer.

The name of the game is to catch fish, or is it? Seems anytime you can get young people participating with a common cause, you have a victory of sorts. Because to be a part of a team is to be a part of something special.

“Gives kids … that can’t be in, you know, other sports an opportunity to try something else,” said fishing coach Van Hapka.

There is a rush for the angler who pursues it in these parts. That was decided a long time ago. We love opening day, we love the challenge of man versus fish. This just heightens the adrenaline.

“Very fun, very high intensity, and you get to compete with the best fishermen in the state, so that’s cool,” Ringer said.

That is why they come together; to do what the love with people who get it.

“You evolve from three years ago, 20-some teams, to now, I think we’re into the 300s in Minnesota,” Coach Hapka said.

And there will be a not bond referendum for faculties, no initiative to raise money for artificial turf.

“It’s pretty nice to go out and just be outside especially, instead of inside in a gym or anything,” Zach Hapka said.

In these parts, they already have 10,000 natural arena.

“When I was younger, I didn’t really think I’d do anything with it,” Ringer said. “I just thought fish were fun, and now I’m competitively fishing.”

Mike Max

Comments (3)
  1. Good story. These young anglers will likely seek colleges that have fishing teams. Isn’t the number one rated college fishing female from MN? I believe she attends a southern college. Mike, many another story here.

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