The Biggest Catch: Bass Fishing Team Makes It To State


Niles West Bass Fishing team members and coach snapping a quick photo

By Charlotte Herbert, Staff Writer

While bass fishing may not be the first sport on your mind when you think about Niles West athletics, this year, the Niles West Bass Fishing team took second place at sectionals, and seniors Eduard Simion and Allan Stegich will be advancing to the state tournament, representing their team here at West.

Bass fishing is a unique sport, with a team member’s score depending on the weight of the five fish you bring in. It also values different attributes that help athletes succeed in other sports. While you may need strength and speed to be a good football player, Stegich views bass fishing very differently. “It’s not that difficult of a sport, it just takes some patience and a little bit of common sense. Because it’s so different than other sports, it’s definitely not for everyone,” said Stegich.

The competitions are also quite different, with long hours starting early in the morning, but it’s still more relaxed than the norm.

“[Bass fishing] is more laid back in comparison to most high school tournaments, we just start a little earlier, but if we were in a real tournament, we’d go out at like five in the morning and stay out all day,” Simion said.

Other athletes may train like crazy and eat, sleep and dream about their sport to prepare for state, but Stegich focused on the very opposite. “Finding time to prepare was a little rough with finals week, but all I really needed to do was pack, make sure all my homework was in and talk to all my teachers, but that’s about it,” Stegich said.

Coach and science teacher Chris Barnett is proud of the team and their recent accomplishments. “The team was so excited because there were a lot of boats out on the water, so it was crazy that we made it to the top three. We also went to the Skokie Lagoons multiple times and fished as much as possible, trying to get better each day leading up to the tournament,” Barnett said.

Simion and Stegich have both been fishing their whole lives, so joining this unique sport wasn’t as far-fetched for them.

“I’ve fished my whole life and I just thought, ‘It’s my senior year, I may as well try something new,’ so I decided to join. State is a once and a lifetime opportunity for me and I won’t have the opportunity to do it again, so it’s really exciting. Plus, you always get a good tan on the boat,” Stegich said.