HORNER, W.Va. – Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in West Virginia. It’s also about patience, skill, and about having fun on the water.
For the Lewis County High School championship fishing team, it’s about collecting titles too.
“There’s state tournament trails. And they qualified for the state championship, and then qualified for the national championship. And that’s just what our guys are doing here,” said LCHS fishing coach Hunter McWhorter.
The Minutemen fishing team is less than 20 years old, and was started with a single coach and just two fishermen. It’s grown in a short amount of time to a team with more than 14 competitors, and has plenty of pairs competing for hardware during the season.
“And I don’t know if it’s been done, but we had four teams qualify (for the state tournament.) One of our teams, they won the points trail. The top two at the state championship go, so we had first place and second place. And then we had a team that went all the way to South Carolina to fish a regional tournament, and they got third place there, and they qualified for the national championship,” McWhorter said.
The B.A.S.S. high school fishing season is two-fold, with both a fall and a spring portion to the season, and competitions all across the state. Tournaments can last around seven hours, with each team’s pair in a boat aiming to bag the five biggest fish.
And lately that boat has been from Lewis County more times than not.
“Yeah, we’ve had our fair share of good luck, good fortune. It’s because, I think, right here. These guys are always here. They were here all day. And we have a lake right in our back yard, and they get to fish a lot,” said McWhorter.
The spring portion of the B.A.S.S. season has so far been halted due to coronavirus, but there is hope that it could start up soon.
“It will definitely be exciting. It’s something that I look forward to anyways, even if it wasn’t canceled. And it’ll be a good chance to meet up with a lot of my friends and stuff from other schools that I’ve been able to see or compete against,” said senior, and 2019 state tournament qualifier, Jared Griffith.
“I’m excited, because it was all taken for granted, and then it was gone. This, you can still get out. But I’m excited for the hope that we can still have the state championship,” said senior, and 2019 state tournament champion, Nic Kuhn.
Schools can field multiple teams during the same event. Each team, or pair, is made up of a duo of fisherman, and then a “captain” who oversees the two competitors.
Kuhn and Griffith have been two of the more successful fishermen for the Minutemen during their high school careers.
And we’ll give you an inside look at what it’s like to be with them on the water coming up on Sunday.