By John Kilgore
Phoenix Outdoors Columnist
Hilldale High School had two of its own represent the Hornet community well in last weekend’s High School Fishing World finals held on Lake Dardenelle in Russellville, Ark.
The team of Blake Capps, a sophomore, and Josh Giem, a senior, worked their way into the finals and finished in 16th place out of 133 teams. The only other Oklahoma team in the finals was from Stilwell High School (Rhett Meyer and Case Eubanks), which finished in ninth place. The first place college scholarship money was won by a team from South Carolina.
Tournament fishing is grinding. It’s about getting up at 4 a.m. each day and fishing from sun-up to sundown for the three days of practice and then the actual tournament days. These fellows are fierce competitors and they must focus and maintain mental clarity in order to produce.
I know these two young men have worked very hard and I’d like to see their community get behind them. Any of us that bass fish can attest to the cost of the gasoline that the boat and the truck pulling the boat requires. Add to that the cost of several nights in a hotel and the cost of meals and it adds up in a hurry.
Capps told me that one day’s gas for the boat was $112.
Hilldale approved them to use the school logo. The guys raffled off a Dobyns rod and an Abu Garcia reel which was won by John Reynolds of Reynolds Real Estate. They held a fundraiser at El Chico’s in Muskogee and the Tulsa area Charlie’s Chicken gave them a donation. That was for their appearance at Lake Dardenelle earlier this month.
Lessons learned? On the last day, the water level in the river system dropped a foot and a half which changed the fishing conditions. They didn’t adapt and realized that they needed to learn more about river systems.
Ninety-eight percent of Capps’ fish came on a frog. Giem, fishing out of the back of the boat, flipped a black and blue Hoo-Daddy. The team weighed a limit of fish each day of the competition. That, in itself, is a feat.
After winning the Student Angler Federation (SAF) Oklahoma High School Fishing State Championship on Grand Lake last April, they move on to the regional event set for Lake Texoma in October.
Giem goes to Connors State College this fall and Capps will be a junior at Hilldale High School, which means he will need to find another partner for the 2014 season.
Log on to www.highschoolfishing.org to read about their recent exploits in one of high school fastest growing activities.
John Kilgore’s outdoor column runs Fridays in the Phoenix. You may contact him with news or other information at (918) 348-9431 or at email@example.com.