Talk to the young men fishing the Junior Bassmaster Northern Divisional today, and you’ll see that this part of the Federation is a big deal. It’s a chance for young anglers to show their stuff in competition and maybe, if things go just right, move up the fishing ladder.
Thirteen-year-old Cason Hiers, who has been fishing for five or six years now, and his Minnesota teammate, 18-year-old Nathan Molitor (also an experienced angler) are no exception. Talk to them for a minute or two, and you’ll see what this program is all about.
“It’s pretty cool,” says Hiers. “We practiced three days, and I think we may be onto something. Of course, the river’s been fished really, really hard for two days now and a lot of stuff has changed so who knows what things will be like when we actually get out there and start fishing.
“I think we’re prepared, though. It’s a matter of finding the right spot and settling down and fishing hard. Our adult boater in practice was Peter Parovich. He did a really good job helping us get ready. We’re really lucky to have him.”
Molitor agrees, “I’m fortunate to be here. It’s a real honor. And I agree that Peter has really helped us. He worked hard so we’d have a plan and hopefully catch a good bag. The first day of practice went better than the last two for us. I’m not sure why that was. It just happened that way. I hope the tournament goes like our first day of practice.”
The adult view of things isn’t much different. Chris Lappert, president of the Ohio B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, is active with the JWC and originally intended to boat in the tournament. But because of scheduling issues with several members of the Ohio Team, he ended up fishing the tournament and was forced to turn his duties over to another adult, something he didn’t want to do.
“I’ll tell you I’m going to miss boating for the kids. It’s a real pleasure to be out there helping them and making sure they’re safe. I did get to practice with our boys, though. We had a good time and we were able to mark several good spots. I’ll tell you where they are and why we marked them later this afternoon.
“I didn’t fish them this week. I left them for the kids but I think some of the other anglers got to them. It wasn’t on purpose, though. They didn’t know that I was trying to save them for my kids. About all I can do at this point is hope for the best for them. It’s killing me not to be a part of the youth tournament.
“This is a great program. It not only creates a future for our sport but it builds the right values in the next generation. That’s something that’ll benefit everyone.”