From the US Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast:
If you have spent any time on New Hampshire waters during the past few years, you may have noticed small groups of high school students bass fishing on lakes and ponds throughout the State. Seeing this once or twice won’t raise your eyebrows. Lots of kids love to fish. But get a little closer and oddly enough, you’ll see these students are wearing shirts with their school colors and names on them and are often accompanied by an adult coach. Confused yet? Get close enough to ask what they are doing and the reply will likely be, “I’m on my school’s bass fishing team and we are practicing for the state qualifying tournament on Lake Winnipesaukee.”
What sounds like a dream for most kids (and adults) became reality in the spring of 2013 when New Hampshire became the third state to sanction fishing as a high school sport. Aligning with the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (NHIAA) goal of providing sports with lifelong appeal that are coed and inclusive to all students, the enthusiasm and interest from students and parents for this new sport was overwhelming.
There are currently 42 New Hampshire schools participating in bass fishing. Individual teams practice together and sometimes compete against other schools to hone their fishing skills before participating in the state qualifying tournament. The top 10 or 12 teams with the largest weight of bass caught during the qualifying event then move on to compete in the state finals tournament.
Gabe Gries is a fish biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.