Capt. Dickie Colburn – For The Record

High school bass fishing may well be the fastest growing team sport in southeast Texas and I have been amazed at the winning weights posted in several of these tournaments.The fact that they have very little time to pre-fish due to minor obligations like going to class and in many cases, even participating in other sports, makes those numbers even more impressive.

My only concern thus far with the rapid growth of the sport is the equally rapid growing number of youngsters that cannot participate because they can’t find an older volunteer with a boat or the time to captain their boat on the day of the tournament.They could, in fact, possibly own a $60,000 bass boat and still not be able to fish without a mandated volunteer. “You had no idea that a bass boat could cost that much did you Mom.”

In most cases, as you would expect, the average volunteer is a relative or family friend that owns the boat and hopefully is an experienced and safe boater as well. But, what if you yearn to participate and that person does not exist in your life?

I know of no other high school sport that eliminates a student’s participation due to their inability to enlist the services of a sponsoring adult on game day.Even after discussing the issue with a number of folks that have very much enjoyed that role, not one of them has come up with a viable solution for rectifying that problem.

In fact, in some instances it has proven to be a problem for the folks that are more than happy to serve as the captain on tournament day.It seems at times that everyone I speak with is a Grand dad (Grand dads have lots of time for this kind of stuff) and two of them have already run into a problem I never even considered.

“Our family “get togethers” are starting to resemble a Sunday brunch with the Hatfields and McCoys,” says a good friend that is not only a great Grand dad, but a heck of a bass fisherman as well.“I now have grandsons on two different high school teams and I am not going to risk losing my favorite fishing partners, not to mention hacking off their Moms, as a result of choosing one over the other!”

Sitting in the boat all day enabling two kids to compete can be more rewarding than just the satisfaction of knowing that you provided them with that opportunity.Because both he and the two youngsters he volunteers to help have upcoming tournaments, I won’t divulge their names, but they tutored him in a recent event.

“I have fished Rayburn for twenty-eight years and never fished the first little hump they pulled up on in their last tournament,” said the Uncle of one of the teammates.“They only caught three bass, but two of them were in the five pound class and they pulled off a huge fish as well.”

“A week later, I hit the lake after working nights and gave the spot a try only because the wind was blowing and it wasn’t far from the launch. I caught a bass on the second cast with a lizard, released it and left.In all of those years it was the first double digit bass that I had ever caught!”

Until someone comes up with a more inclusive plan and they will, donating your time as a Captain for two high school youngsters just might improve your own catching.At the very least, it will get two more kids on the water.

It comes as no surprise that we would be dealing with daily thunderstorms just as the fishing on both the river and lake was improving daily.The river, in fact, has been very kind to local bass fishermen. Not only has the size of the bass been impressive, but the numbers of keeper fish as well.

Aside from the rain issue, all of this is great news for the upcoming OJC Fun Day and fishing tournament on March 26^th .The rules were tweaked some for angler clarification, but the same prize money is up for grabs in the same categories.Fresh or saltwater….there is something there for everyone.

The tournament is a team event with a $100 entry fee.Contestants can fish artificial lures and live or dead bait. There will be no penalty or bonus for dead or live fish brought to the weigh-in.All rules, times and categories are listed on Facebook under OJC Fish.The Fun Day event will also include a kickball tournament, food and vendor booths with a wide variety of items for sale.