Their whole lives, Chanler Fleetwood and Carson Lambring used any excuse they could to pack up a truck with fishing gear and hook a boat on a trailer.
The anglers would spend hours on the banks or in a boat looking for their next biggest bass.
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One night, while watching high school fishing on TV, an idea struck: Brownstown needed a team.
This spring, the Brownstown Central students created a team of six, which grew to seven members.
Six anglers are required to create a club.
“There really isn’t much high school fishing in Indiana,” Fleetwood, the club’s president, said. “There’s a lot in Kentucky and Tennessee. You don’t have to be involved with the school to have a bass club. However, we asked Mr. (Mark) DeHart (athletics director at Brownstown) to use the school name.
“I’ve been fishing in tournaments since I was 9 years old. I watched tournaments on TV, and hearing about the high school deal, I wanted to get into it.”
The Braves compete in Fishing League Worldwide and The Bass Federation’s high school fishing student angler association.
On top of the FLW and TBF events, the students will fish in eight club tournaments and five “pond hopping” competitions in the area.
“I’ve been fishing my whole life,” Lambring, club vice president, said. “It’s something I love to do. We’ve been fishing tournaments together but wanted to make it a club thing.”
Lambring and Fleetwood, both juniors at Brownstown, recently went to Patoka Lake in south central Indiana to compete at the state championships.
The duo finished eighth of 34 registered teams with two bass weighing in at a combined 6 pounds, 8 ounces.
With less-than-favorable weather conditions, just 14 teams weighed in at state.
Unfortunately, the combined weight wasn’t enough for Fleetwood and Lambring to advance to the regional, as only the top three moved on.
A club from Tipton finished first, with the max of five bass, weighing in at 18 pounds, 5 ounces.
Fleetwood said he was disappointed with the result, and the goal is to get a team to the regional his senior year.
Thus far, the club has gotten notoriety in the community and school in a short period of time.
“It’s getting around the high school,” Fleetwood said. “We have shirts and hats, and people are asking about it. All the teachers know, and our athletics director does multiple tournaments per year.”
With college scholarships available, one of the ultimate goals is to have a team get to the world competition, where thousands of dollars are awarded to the winners.
“My goal is to win a world final with (Fleetwood),” Lambring said. “If we do that, we could probably get college scholarships. In Kentucky and Tennessee, they give out full scholarships to fish.”
Reed Robinson, a senior on the team, was awarded a $20,000 scholarship to Bethel University this past summer for competitive fishing.
Bethel, in McKenzie, Tennessee, was the first school to classify the bass team as a sport and offer a fishing scholarship.
“I want to get more people involved from the tournament aspect,” Fleetwood said. “Fishing in a tournament gets you more pumped up. It’s a better deal than just fishing off the bank.”
Fleetwood said he hopes to have 10 to 15 members by next year. It costs $25 to join club.
Members of the Brownstown fishing club include:
Chanler Fleetwood (president)
Carson Lambring (vice president)
Sy Zickler (secretary)
Mason Fleetwood (adviser)