One thing that’s really stood out while researching varsity fishing over the last year or so is the tremendous number of positive media stories generated by the sport. Not just in the fishing and hunting press, but in general circulation newspapers nationwide.
The sport’s unique combination of outdoor activity, commitment, skill, and school pride clearly strikes a chord with the general public.
This applies every bit as much to college fishing as to high school, but a couple of recent profiles in the media have singled out the youngsters.
The Greenfield Patch recently profiled Kyler Chelminiak, a Whitnall High School, Wisconsin senior, who just earned a $48,000 scholarship to attend Bethel University in Tennessee. Half the money was an academic scholarship and half was a “bass scholarship” to recruit Kyler, a keen and successful youth bass angler, to the The Bethel Bass Cats college fishing team.
Kyler came third in this year’s FLW High School Fishing National Championship and has already picked-up sponsorships from, among others, Oakley, Denali Rods, and Quantum Rods and Reels. He comes across as a smart, humble, and committed young man with a singular focus … pretty much a model of how you’d want your kids to turn out.
His goal is to become a bass pro, but whether that pans out or not, he’ll have the skill set necessary to be successful in any number of careers. And his promising future has been largely shaped by the emergence of competitive fishing at the high school and college level.
The Lake Norman News in North Carolina recently published an admiring profile of another young angler intent on making it as a bass pro.
Carson Orellana is a member of the Southfork Junior Bassmasters club, the largest of it’s kind in the state and last year won it’s Angler of the Year award. He won the 2011 NC State Bass Federation Nation Youth Championship on High Rock Lake, and has apprenticed with Texas pro and bass guide Roy Sandford.
Nudged in the right direction by other pro anglers he’s met, Carson is headed to college to study marketing and business, a very useful degree for an aspiring pro angler.
Eric Winter, the manager of the Bass Pro Shops in Concord is quoted as saying: “Not only is he a very accomplished young talent, he is an extremely polite and well-polished young man.”