By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fishing isn’t just a pastime in Minnesota, it’s a way of life. And despite the sport’s popularity, it’s not an official high school activity — but that’s changing.

There is a huge high school tournament set to commence this weekend, involving about 450 participants. On Sunday, 225 boats from across the state will take part on Lake Minnetonka, a lot of anglers.

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“I love how we all come together and just have a good time on the water. There’s never really a bad day, whether you’re catching fish or not,” senior Nate Ice said.

The Wayzata fishing team has grown exponentially since it started five years ago.

“It’s actually insane. We started with eight of us and now it’s upwards of 40 to 50 kids,” Wayzata senior Harrison Dau said.

This Sunday, they will get a test. The first fishing competition will bring many teams, and many boats.

“There’s at least 225 boats, high school boats, at this event this year. It’s the biggest high school event I’ve seen, certainly the biggest events we’ve ever had on this lake,” coach Jason Aleshire said.

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It’s a team predominately made up of boys, but there is one exception — senior Anna Nelson.

“I actually spent the first half of the year going around and talking to each boy on the team to get myself on the team,” she said. “After I texted then and snapped them and DM’ed them on Instagram, they finally let me on, but it took awhile.

The event is also heavy on electronics, and with a fishing app, they can keep track of their competition in real-time.

But above all are the teammates that have become friends.

“My friend group is just the team,” junior Griffin Markham said. “There’s no drama or anything, we’re all just friends.”

They will go out at 7 a.m. Sunday, one boat captain and two participants per boat.

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Mike Max