The future of sport fishing in the Augusta area just turned brighter, with the organization of fishing teams at North Augusta Middle School and Augusta State University.
The teams received a boost recently when the 22 bass clubs of the Clark Hill Committee voted to support both teams materially and financially. Hayes Marine, of Appling, is also supporting the North Augusta kids, while Martinez-based Buckeye Lures is doing the same for both teams.
Clark Hill Committee members led by Larry Gilpin, as well as Buckeye, donated a bunch of fishing tackle to the North Augusta team at North Augusta Country Club on Wednesday afternoon. The team is coached by Sean Hall, with plenty of assistance from “Den Mom” Jeannine Wilson.
The Augusta State team is sparked by Wesley Steinmeyer, of Appling, who serves as president. It was the Augusta State freshman’s idea in the first place and he quickly worked to get school authorities sold on the program. Vice president is Shane Wyatt; secretary is Amanda Rogers, and treasurer is Lucas Johnson, all of Harlem.
Steinmeyer and Kiwanas Andrews, of Lincolnton, Ga., represented the team in the FLW College Fishing program on Lake Okeechobee in Florida last Jan. 21. They placed 13th out of 40 teams. Steinmeyer and Johnson will compete in the next tournament on Lake Seminole on March 24. They are competing in the Southeastern Conference which includes Georgia, Clemson, Auburn and Georgia Southern.
College events are set up around the FLW EverStart Series. Those tournaments with a field of 150 pros run Thursday through Saturday, with just the top 10 fishing the final day. “We ask for volunteers who do not make the top 10 to take the college teams fishing on Saturdays,” said Julie Huber, an FLW spokesperson. “It has worked well.”
The North Augustans are a part of the Youth Fishing League, a program supported by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and The Bass Federation of South Carolina. There are currently 12 schools involved and if the number climbs to16 or more, the S.C. High School League could then consider making bass fishing an official high school sport, according to a story in the current issue of S.C. Wildlife magazine..
North Augusta Country Club Manager Cary Lonis is working with the middle school team, allowing the kids to practice in the clubs’ ponds, as well as hold tournaments there.
• Condolences to the family of pro guide Tommy Dudley, of Plum Branch, S.C., whose mother, Delaine, 82, died Wednesday after an extended illness.