High school anglers may soon have a varsity sport to call their own.
The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association will conduct its first ever NHIAA-sanctioned bass fishing competition on May 9 at Lee’s Mills in Moultonborough on Lake Winnipesaukee.
This year’s event is a trial tournament as high schools around the state and the NHIAA prepare to make bass fishing official during the 2013-2014 school year.
That’s good news to student anglers at Pinkerton Academy, who are already practicing their casting and other fishing techniques at Beaver Lake to get ready for the tournament.
Mark Cahill, a chef and lead culinary instructor at Pinkerton, is an avid fisherman. He serves as the group’s advisor.
“I love fishing, I like to bring my sons, my dad loved fishing, his dad,” he said. “I grew up on a boat.”
Bass is a good choice for competition fishing, he said.
“They are a fish of choice in freshwater and can run from 1 pound up to 16,” Cahill said.
About 45 high schools have already expressed in interest in the sport. That includes the initial 50 that showed up for a preliminary meeting at Pinkerton. About 20 are still on board to take it to the next level to possibly form a co-ed team.
“The response has been overwhelming,” Cahill said.
This area is ripe for fishing, Cahill said, and many of the interested students have spent a lot of time on the water with a pole and reel.
Other types of sports might not be suited to every student, he said, and fishing is an option for some who need a different type of competitive outlet.
“Their enthusiasm is off the charts,” Cahill said.
Pinkerton is not alone. Londonderry High School is also considering getting on board with bass fishing as an official high school sport. At a School Board meeting April 16, Superintendent Nathan Greenberg said there is interest in town.