April 28, 2012
The Orange County Anglers are the oldest tournament bass fishing team in the state and have claimed 12 state championships since their start in 1999.
"It's an alternative sport for kids who like to tournament bass fish, who like to be in the outdoors," said OCHS adviser Becky Gore. "It is a tournament series so you do have the competition and it adds a lot of excitement. It's in no way boring or the bob and worm type of fishing."
Last weekend, the reigning state champions finished as team runners-up to Patrick Henry. On Sunday, the Anglers will compete individually in the Jr. B.A.S.S. Federation Nation State Qualifier, where the top three finishers advance to the Virginia Classic. Orange County senior Austin Clore is among the athletes trying to qualify for the first time.
"I just need to get on the fish, need to find them," said Clore. "I need to have good chemistry with the people I'm fishing with and make sure they're happy with what I'm doing and vice versa."
Tournament bass fishing is complex sport that involves more technical skill and strategy than most realize.
"There's a lot that goes into this, more than just going out and fishing," said Clore. "You have to use the right lure at the right time of the year. There's a lot of different stages for the fish."
On a typical tournament day, individuals go on out the water with boat captains in search of fish from about 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Athletes are expected to find populated areas of fish based on their fishing waters, the fish's climate, and also with the use of maps. Individuals are judged on the amount a fish, measured in pounds.
"He has to learn how to read maps, he needs to know about the habitat of the bass," added Gore. "We have actually dissected some of the fish and talk about their sense that they use. Many of these things are incorporated in, not just going out there and throwing the line in the water. They also have to have the knowledge of all these other aspects."
For more information on the team, visit ochsanglers.com.