WESTON, W.Va.— Mike Moore wanted to share his passion for fishing with students at Lewis County High School in 2013. Two LCHS students, Mark Moran and Zach Browning, were serious anglers and members of a bass club.
“Mike was the athletic trainer for football and basketball. He told us about a high school state championship coming to Stonewall Jackson Lake,” Browning said.
And the rest is history.
The Lewis County High School Bass Fishing Club was formed and continues to grow, with more students getting involved, according to Hunter McWhorter, club adviser.
“We have four teams, and we are accepting new members. There are two members per team,” McWhorter said. “Bass Nation for professionals always had a high school division. The students have to pay to enter the tournaments.”
McWhorter is proud of how the club has expanded, offering even more opportunities for students.
“We’re a relatively young club, and getting to do this (compete in the tournament) with the youth is important,” he said. “All four teams plan to participate. They have a boat captain who drives the boat for each two-member team.
“There can be kids from any high school in West Virginia participating. It gets all the kids together from all around the state. The kids are really enjoying it.”
Club members are Eythan Wenzel, Nick Gould, Lucas Wright, Ryan Skidmore, Joey Grogg, Dakota Stout, Jared Griffith and Nic Kuhn.
Griffith said the club is considering hosting a tournament as a fundraiser.
“We will participate in our first competition this year during the West Virginia Bass Nation Tournament on April 2 on Stonewall Jackson Lake,” he said.
Griffith, a freshman, said there is some really stiff competition expected from around the state.
“I’m a freshman. I’ve got three more years after this to compete. Even if we don’t win or go to nationals, it is a lot of fun to be on the water with my friends. Nic Kuhn is my partner. We’ve been friends since fifth grade. We played football together and last fall decided to be partners in this organization.”
Moran, one of the inaugural club members, serves as Griffith and Kuhn’s boat captain.
“He brings his boat and takes us out for the day. My partner and I go with him the entire day. You can call a time out during tournaments and they can give us tips,” Griffith said. “He’s fished Stonewall a long time and has a lot of experience on the lake. He helps us both in tournaments and out.”
He is excited for the official start of the club.
“All the team members are good friends and it’s a great way to hang out together,” Griffith said.
Browning continues to be involved with the organization as a college student.
“It is a way to share a common interest with other students. I am vice president of the Glenville State College Bass Club,” Browning said. “The majority of colleges in the conference has a fishing club, fishing team or outdoorsman club.”
He recalled competing in the high school championship.
“It was pretty fun. We fished the championship at Stonewall Jackson Lake. I got to meet a lot of guys. It was enjoyable,” he said. “It’s definitely a good outlet for those who like the outdoors. I think it’s definitely a good opportunity to experience something you love and express yourself.”