Fishermen Hit the Water, but Still Need a Boat

Claremont — One of the new fall sports Stevens High School has added to its growing list is the relatively new endeavor of bass fishing. The team has a coach, a roster and plenty of places to fish. All that’s missing is a boat.

“We’d love to have somebody with a boat and trailer donate it to us,” said Stevens Athletic Director Aaron House. “We don’t want to own it. Just borrow it.”

Adding a sport to an already busy athletic agenda is not always an easy thing, but House felt that it was essential to add bass fishing. “It gives an opportunity to students who might not otherwise compete on an athletic team,” he said. “It’s an amazing thing. There is also a large population in this area that likes to fish.”

One of those Stevens students who likes to fish is Nick Stefan. According to House, Stefan is not just one of those casual fisherman.

“He really knows what he’s doing,” said House. “I understand he’s really good at it.”

Apparently Stefan’s father, John, also must like to fish. The elder Stefan has volunteered to coach the team without asking for a salary.

“John just loves fishing, and he loves watching his son fish,” House said.

“One of the nicest realities of adding this sport is that it will have a zero dollar impact on the taxpayers of Claremont,” added House.

But there is the problem of the boat.

House said he has been chasing people down trying to get someone to lend a boat, but has not had any success as yet. House said he also put the need for a boat up on the school’s website, but “I haven’t got a nibble.”

Stevens has 15 students lined up to take part in the sport that had its first tournament last year, with 40 schools taking part at Lake Winnipesaukee. “It’s a catch and release tournament, and not one fish died,” House said.

While a fishing boat (at least 16 feet with a live well) is essential in the tournaments, during the regular season, participants can fish from the shoreline, in ponds, lakes and rivers as an alternate to boats. By the end of the season, however, each school will need to identify its top four anglers — two on the boat and two on shore as substitutes. During the tournament, all four fishermen must participate.

There is a qualifying round in the tournament with one-third of the field moving on to the championship, which will be held on Oct. 5 at a site to be determined.

“You don’t know how hard I’ve tried to locate a boat,” said House. “It is possible that we could rent a boat for the tournament, but we’re trying to keep the cost of this program at a minimum.”

The bass fishing season, which was a spring event last year, is a coed sport.

“And there are college scholarship opportunities,” added House.