SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -In 2020, the Georgia High School Association sanctioned bass fishing as an official sport. Soon after, the season was effectively ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 8 the first GHSA State Bass Fishing Tournament is set to take place.
Robert Miller said he started fishing as a kid because of his grandpa, and Matthew Gunn said he got into it because of his dad. The two say they’re best friends, and because of that, they make a great team.
“Me and Matthew have been friends since we were really little, so it’s a fun thing to do with someone you’re so close with,” Miller said.
The two helped start Savannah Christian’s club team as eighth graders, and this year the sophomores double-qualified for the first state tournament, winning their first qualifier.
“There’s usually about 100-plus boats in every tournament and you have to make the top 15, so it’s pretty hard,” Gunn explained. “You’ve got to have a good bag of fish.”
They have eight hours to bag five fish. The team with the biggest five wins.
Brian Gunn, Matthew’s dad, is their coach and captains their boat during tournaments.
He said he’s proud of the boys and is glad to see the sport growing.
“We were ready to go last year. We got one tournament in last year, and then everything just pretty much ended, but this is our third year doing it at the school. When Georgia high school decided to sanction it, it made it a lot easier having somebody like that to organize it and actually set up the tournaments and all we’ve got to do is get a team together and show up and fish,” said Brian Gunn.
They say they hope the sport continues to expand to more schools, because it gives high schoolers more opportunities.
“I think it’s cool, because a lot of high school boys and girls like to fish and it just gives us an opportunity to have colleges look at us too, because like, let’s say we just like fishing and not playing other sports, that gives us opportunities to get scholarships and stuff too,” Matthew Gunn said.
“It’s a fun thing to do. It just started getting big, it’s getting big worldwide and nationwide, too.”
The GHSA state bass fishing tournament will be at Lake Lanier, and Brian Gunn estimates around 70 teams will be competing.