LAKEVILLE, Minn. — Matthew Stearns, 16, shares his passion for bass fishing with kids of all ages.
Stearns, who was selected as a Bassmaster High School All-State representative from Minnesota, founded the Lakeville North High School Bass Fishing Club this year and has participated in community events designed to get younger kids interested in fishing.
“He has done some speaking engagements, and last year at the Minnesota DNR stage at the State Fair, he came there for the whole day just to teach kids about fishing,” said Jeff Gilmer, Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation youth director.
Stearns has also been a volunteer for the Jacob’s Hope ice fishing event to prevent teen suicide, the Home Free fishing event for children from a battered women’s shelter and Coon Lake clean-up events.
Stearns grew up fishing on the Chetek chain of lakes in Northern Wisconsin where he mainly caught panfish and an occasional walleye or bass. His passion for bass fishing started at age 12 when he began watching YouTube bass fishing videos and the pros on TV.
When he was 14, Stearns joined the Minnesota Bassinators youth club and quickly developed a love for tournament fishing.
“I really grew to love the competition,” Stearns said. “I learned not to get down on myself if I see someone else catching fish and just to focus on what I am doing because it is me against the fish and not me against the other competitors. I learned to enjoy it and that I can’t win them all.”
Stearns won the 11-14 age group of the 2013 Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation Tournament of Champions. Winning the event qualified him as a high school member of the Minnesota state team that went on to win the 2014 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional. He also earned big bass honors at the 2013 B.A.S.S. Youth Spring Fling and finished second out of a 40-boat field in the 2014 Lakeville Pan-O-Prong Tournament.
Since 2011, Stearns has filmed his own fishing videos and posted the films on his MnMetroFishing YouTube channel that has nearly 700 subscribers. He is also a pro staff member for Dobyns Rods and Mister Twister.
Making the Bassmaster All-State team was a pleasant surprise for Stearns.
“I was really honored,” he said. “To be one of the top 57 high school anglers in the nation is really something. It has just really given me a drive to go even further. Now I want to put more time and effort into my tournament fishing and career.”
The high school sophomore plans to study engineering in college and hopes to attend a school that has a bass fishing team.
Watch him go ice fishing in the video below, from his YouTube channel.