KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) —The Karns High School Bass Fishing Team spent the past year rebuilding. Now more than a dozen teens are competing on the water, including sophomore David Johnson.
“You want to try to find the best spot as possible in the morning because the morning is usually the best bite,” said Johnson.
For the better part of a year, he and his parents have been building a following on campus. They recruited FFA advisor Joshua Cameron to serve as the team’s school sponsor.
“I want these kids to be able to have this outlet and that was one way if they didn’t have a sponsor, they are not going to have that outlet, so I was glad to step up and take that role for them,” said Cameron.
The program is helping students find their place and next adventure.
“I may not have a place on the football field, baseball field or basketball court, but fishing is something everybody can do and something everybody can get involved in and be able to win, have fun, build that team atmosphere that you still get and learn a lot of life lessons while you are out there,” said Cameron.
One important takeaway, it’s hard to win big all the time in fishing, especially when you’re competing in local tournaments against 200 plus boats.
“Some tournaments we do weigh in at least two to three fish,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s biggest catch happened on the South Carolina coast. He unexpectedly caught a shark, which he promptly released.
“It was pretty crazy it was flipping all on the dock and that stuff because I’ve never handled something that big, that was something else,” said Johnson.
Johnson and his teammates are hoping to reel in more anglers following the program’s recent growth and success.
“Build. Get the team larger. I want these kids to be able to go in, win tournaments. They have colleges that come and evaluate just like you see during football games. You have recruiters come out; colleges come look at these kids,” said Cameron.
There are roughly 15 teams participating in the program.
Cameron says they are always looking for more sponsors. The sponsors’ support helps pay for students’ equipment and entry fees to tournaments.
If you’re interested in supporting or joining the Karns team reach out to Cameron at 865-804-2605.