Published 4:38 pm, Thursday, October 12, 2017
Photo: Hargrave Bass Fishing Team Facebook Page
Hargrave High School freshman Makinley Reuter’s father, Darrell, took her to a little pond in their neighborhood and taught her to fish when she was young.
Reuter now is one of 25 students on the Hargrave Bass Fishing Team. At their first tournament of the 2017-2018 season, the team’s fourth, which took place at Lake Livingston on Sept. 30, Hargrave won the overall championship out of the 25 schools that were competing.
The team of Garrett Stevens and sophomore Ruston Breaux won the individual championship out of 200 teams, with a full bag of five fish weighing 19.19 pounds. Eight of the 12 Hargrave teams competing finished in the top 20 percent of all teams; four of the teams competing finished in the top 10 percent.
Stevens said he likes the feeling of being out on a lake, not having to worry about anything. Breaux said it’s a pretty good rush when you catch a fish.
Stevens and Breaux had finished second at the Lake Livingston tournament the year before and were excited to finish first this year. They each won a $1,000 scholarship from the Texas High School Bass Association, under which Hargrave competes, for finishing in first place.
There are seven THSBA tournaments during the year. The tournaments take place on a Saturday (with the exception of the state tournament which takes place over a Saturday and a Sunday, May 19 and 20). Fishermen can start casting at 6:45 in the morning, and their last cast can be no later than 3 in the afternoon.
The winning team is the team that has the heaviest bag. A bag consists of up to five keepers, a fish that measures at least 14 inches in length. Fish that do not meet that length requirement must be released.
Stevens said he and Breaux catch a lot of fish that measure over 13 inches but come up just short of the length requirement. He also said the time at which they catch fish during a tournament has varied greatly. Last year on Lake Livingston, they didn’t catch their first keeper until around noon, but this year, they had five keepers by 10 in the morning.
“That feeling of relief of having five fish in your boat, that’s a pretty good feeling right there,” he said.
Monica Dorcz took over as the team’s faculty sponsor for Richard Maglievaz, who started the team with the help of current senior Cody Harcrow and his mother, Tammy Harcrow, and led it for the first two years. She did so at the last minute so the team could continue.
“It has been very rewarding,” she said. “Our young anglers are very polite men and women who have a passion for the sport, are supportive of one another, and have the grit and determination to do what it takes to win tournaments and succeed in other areas or their lives.”
“He’s so addicted. I don’t think that he’ll ever not fish,” Dorcz said of her son Matthew, a member of the bass fishing team and the baseball team. “Even when he’s playing baseball, there’s really not a day that goes by when he doesn’t spend at least a little bit of time fishing in pond or somewhere.”
“Come check it out,” encouraged Stevens. “You can learn really quick. Once you get hooked on it, you just want to keep doing it.”