Continued success for local youth fishing team

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(WRDW/WAGT) -- Fishing is one of the fastest growing high school sports in the country. That's according to The Bass Federation, which estimates nearly 45,000 high school students participate in clubs around the nation.

The Clarks Hill Youth Fishing Team is unique. Anglers come from schools around the area that do not have a designated fishing team.

Christy Gonsalves, the team manager, says they had a bunch of kids that wanted to fish, but none of them went to the same school, “to make a team you have to have at least 6, so they decided to have a private team, incorporate us, and so then we found out there's 2 kids here at this school, 2 in this area, and before you know we just all come together and made a team”.

Gavin Gilbert, a 10th grader at Cross Creek High School, says he has been with the team since it started, “I've been on the team for I don't know how many years, since we first started. I met so many good friends that I would have never met if it wasn't for the team”.

It is a long season that starts in September and goes into the following summer if anglers qualify for nationals. Multiple anglers on the team are fishing in nationals this June at Pickwick Lake in Alabama.

Brayden Batchelor, a 10th grader at Lake Oconee Academy, qualified for nationals this year and says, “Pickwick doesn't have a lot of grass, so you're going to have to fish deep”.

Collin Williams, a 12th grader at Lakeside High School, is fishing in his last tournament at Pickwick. “It's a great feeling. I mean it is a great way to end my last year of fishing, go out with a bang and just try to win it you know”, says Williams.

If you are a middle or high school student that enjoys to fish, they are always looking for new members.

“We are welcome to take anybody. Any school that doesn’t have a fishing team. We will take anybody. If you know how to fish, know how to do all that, you have a boat, you can join”, said Evan Gonsalves, a 10th grader at Harlem High School who has fished on the team since middle school.

They have two senior anglers this year that earned a scholarship to fish at the college level and many of the younger ones have that as their goal.

If you have any questions about joining the team or just want to follow them along as they head to nationals, like their Facebook page at Clarks Hill Youth Fishing Team.

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