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New club 'angling' to give students outdoors fun

River Falls High School senior Bryce Linnell is shown with a 29-inch Northern caught during a Jan. 6 fishing tournament in Luck. Photo courtesy of Matt Smith.

Tenth-grader Hunter Jamison has been fishing all his life. When he was in seventh grade, his father gave him the idea to start a fishing club.

He brought that idea to life this school year.

"I went and talked to Mr. (Kit) Luedtke," Jamison said. "He likes fishing too, so he thought it was a great idea."

Jamison said Luedtke helped get the ball rolling, and Jamison started asking teachers if they'd be advisor to the club.

Matt Smith agreed to be the advisor.

"I thought it was a really cool idea," he said. "Something that wasn't really available to me in high school."

He said he thought it would be good to have another sport kids could enjoy. He also wanted to create opportunities for kids who don't have the resources to fish, or to help kids who might not have tried fishing before

The club officially started in late September 2017.

Smith said he reached out to Jason Brazzle, the advisor of Prescott High School's fishing club.

"We quickly came up with a strategy to get the club going," Smith said.

They sold raffle tickets through Wisconsin Interscholastic Fishing Association to raise funds to support the club. This went on from mid-October to early December.

"It was a huge success and we will plan to do this yearly," Smith said.

Jamison said it's "very cool" to see his idea become a reality.

"It's amazing, honestly," he said.

WIFA also offers some ice fishing tournaments that student anglers can attend, such as the Jan. 6 tournament, for example.

Two of the three RFHS teams placed in the top 10 of 43 teams for heaviest combined weight of 25 panfish.

"Most importantly the kids all had a blast up on Bone Lake and are excited to continue fishing and competing in tournaments," Smith said. "There is still a tournament or two that our team is interested in attending this season. In future seasons we are looking to go to more tournaments, as well as the State Ice Fishing Tournament hosted by WIFA."

Smith said the RFHS Fishing Club would also like to expand into open water fishing during the warmer months of the year in the future.

Smith also wanted to get involved in the club to help students find an activity they can enjoy their whole lives.

"Something that extends well past the four to eight years of being a high school/college athlete. I'm hoping to help and encourage kids to turn off their Xbox and get outside to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family," he said.

The members meet during Focus (homeroom) time at school, and talk about the sport of fishing.

The RFHS Fishing Club was also given the opportunity to sell some custom made Line Cutterz rings, donated by RFHS alumnus Vance Zahorski. He started his own company, and was presented a deal on the TV Show Shark Tank.

Zahorski donated 100 custom Line Cutterz rings, which provide fishers a convenient way to cut fishing line.

"All of the money from the rings will go directly to the club," Smith said. "We hope to use the money to enter tournaments and eventually invest in fishing equipment for kids who might not have their own, but would still like to try fishing."

The rings are $15 each while supplies last, and anyone in the community is welcome to buy them. Those interested can contact a club member or contact Smith at matthew.smith@rfsd.k12.wi.us.

Right now, Smith said, about 80 rings remain unspoken for, and they are going fast.

A Facebook Page is also in the works, and can be found by searding "RFHS Fishing Club" on Facebook.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

(715) 426-1048
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