All About That Bass

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In 2009, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) introduced a new sport: bass fishing. In its inaugural year, 199 schools participated, and since then, the sport has grown to include 311 schools, one being RMHS.

“My twin brother [junior Brian Sroka] and I have wanted to start this team since freshman year,” junior Jack Sroka said. “I have spoken to other students who also enjoy fishing and were interested in joining this team. I am on the football team and play PREP hockey and wanted to do something competitive in the offseason.”

Brian and Jack Sroka, along with junior Jacob Gustafson and sophomore Nick Anderson, decided to make this dream a reality and approached Technology Education Teacher Timothy Jacoby to be their Head Coach.

“I have many years of fishing experience and three years of experience as a fishing coach at Dundee-Crown High School,” Jacoby said. “I find fishing to be a very relaxing and yet challenging [and] exciting sport that allows participants a chance to enjoy the outdoors. When you set the hook into a big one and you feel the fishing rod bend in half the excitement begins. Having the skills to fight the fish and land it in the boat is where the rush takes place.”

The main focus of this year’s team was preparing for an IHSA tournament on Chain O’Lakes in Fox Lake, IL. Each team is allowed a maximum of two boats with two athletes fishing in each boat, so all four of this team’s founders were able to participate. The overall goal of the competition is to catch the biggest fish. At the end of the day, each team weighs in up to five fish and the team with the highest weight wins.

 “We started early on the Fox Lake chain and fished for eight hours,” Brian Sroka said. “Unfortunately, we did not qualify for the State finals but are hopeful for next year. We have a very small team and need to establish routines, [but] fortunately, Coach Jacoby and Coach Liquori have participated in the state tournaments in the past.”

One of the struggles that this year’s team faced was establishing routine practices. While for now, they decided to focus on the basics, they hope to format their schedule like the other established IHSA sports in upcoming years.

“This is our first year as a team here at RMHS with plans to continue and grow for years to come,” Jacoby said. “Our Bass Fishing Team is open to all participants – experienced or not. If you are curious about joining or know that this is the activity that you want to join, look for more announcements and information in the Fall about when we will meet and start to plan for next years activities [and] outings.”

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