Cullman, Ala.— Final exams week at Cullman High School included a tournament on Wheeler Lake for students in the school’s bass fishing class.
During this spring semester, Kyle Morris, a Cullman High physical science and biology teacher and the school’s bass fishing team coach, also taught a seventh-period bass fishing class as an elective course for his team members. For the final exam of his bass fishing class, Morris received permission from school administrators to hold a tournament May 26 at Wheeler Lake.
Morris graded his students on the final based on the number of bass they caught. “I made a 100 (by catching a limit) on an 8 1/2-hour final exam,” said John Brown, a junior in Morris’ class. “That was really neat and we had a good time with it. Coach Morris really took this (class) by the horns and has done a good job with it.”
Eleven freshmen, sophomores and juniors of the bass fishing team’s 22 members attended Morris’ inaugural class. The goal for the class was to educate students on the fundamentals of bass fishing and the principles of conservation.
Early in the semester the students watched videos from Bassmaster Academy and other sources. The class also held a “Fishing Olympics” featuring five events: casting accuracy, casting distance, skip casting, trick casting and knot tying.
When the weather warmed up the class held a practice session once every two weeks on Smith, Guntersville or Wheeler lakes. The class also went kayak bass fishing on the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. Other class activities throughout the semester included spending a day helping the B.A.S.S. staff during the weigh-in of the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional at Lake Guntersville and producing product videos for sponsors that the students posted on You Tube and Instagram.
The support of the school administration helped Morris mold his class and reach its objectives. “They have been very excited about it and been super supportive,” Morris said. “Our school does a great job of treating us like any other sport. We are treated just like we are a basketball or tennis team.”
Morris’ goal for next year is to give the students more time on the water. “I have some plans for next year to make sure we are able to get more boat captains available,” he said. “I am going to make sure that every kid who signs up for the class has a partner and in between them have a dedicated boat captain. That is going to be one of the requirements so that we can get off campus a little bit more.”
“Next year I am going to try to do a little more of the competition and maybe try to get them out two times a week (with a prefishing day followed by a competition day) starting in March when it warms up enough for us to get out there,” Morris said.