There are plenty of outdoor activities to pass the time in the Park Cities. But fishing?
It’s more common than you might think, according to Sam Stewart, who has cast a line in almost every local waterway, and knows several friends who have done the same.
That shared interest is what prompted Stewart to launch HP Anglers, a new club that started this fall at Highland Park High School that aims to form a competitive student fishing team while supporting causes related to the outdoors.
“In Highland Park, fishing and hunting are a huge deal,” said Stewart, a junior. “It’s such an outdoorsy community.”
Stewart has competed in his share of fishing tournaments, but he said the largest bass he’s ever caught is an 8-pounder he reeled in from Turtle Creek while fishing on the 13th tee box at Dallas Country Club.
Starting the club is actually the continuation of a family legacy for Stewart, whose father helped launch the Field and Stream club at HPHS during the 1980s.
“We’ve grown up fishing all our lives, so joining this club and fishing in tournaments is the logical next step,” Stewart said. “It’s taken off a lot better than I expected.”
Only a week into the school year, HP Anglers already had about 20 members, and had secured sponsorships for the team’s jerseys and tournament entry fees.
The club already has joined the Texas High School Bass Association, which has dozens of participating schools from throughout the state. HP competed for the first time on Sept. 27 in a tournament at Joe Pool Lake. The events included two-person teams who were judged on the total weight of their fish caught. As with other sports, the teams will try to qualify for regional and state competitions in the spring.
HPHS freshman Christian Kondratiuk said although he has never fished competitively, he heard about the club from a friend at school.
“We have a love for fishing, so we thought it would be a good idea,” Kondratiuk said. “It’s surprising to some people, but it’s right here in their backyard.”
Besides the competitive aspect and the efforts to spur camaraderie among young outdoors enthusiasts, the club holds monthly meetings to plan conservation and community service projects such as lake clean-up efforts, boater-safety courses, and possibly fishing clinics for kids.