BERLIN- Stephen Decatur High School’s fledgling fishing club is up and running with roughly 30 members participating in competitions, taking classes and expanding on their love of the sport this summer.
Delaware angler Fabian Rodriguez of The Bass Federation approached a group of Decatur faculty members earlier this year about forming a club at the Berlin school to compete with and against similar clubs at neighboring schools in Delaware. Under the direction of faculty members Todd Martinek, Jason Pylypczuk and Tom Hinkle, who incidentally was the winner of the White Marlin Open last year, the Stephen Decatur Fishing Club has hit the ground running with roughly 30 members.
Similar clubs in coastal Delaware schools compete against each other in amateur bass fishing contests each year with state championships awarded, just as in other sports like football and basketball for example. While the new program at Decatur is just getting underway, the fishing club has gotten off to a good start with an eye on future expansion. Earlier this month, the club held a bass competition at the South Gate Pond in Ocean Pines and the top two finishers, Tyler Stierhoff and Colby Newcomber, qualified for a larger, regional event.
Several club members recently completed a safe boating course through the After School Academy under the direction of the U.S. Power Squadron to earn their boater’s licenses. Another upcoming event is the “Pitch, Flip and Cast” contest wherein club members test their casting skills with the top finishers winning fishing rods and other tackle.
Any club member who participates in at least two of the club’s sanctioned events will get a chance to get offshore on the “Judith M” with Captain Mark Sampson for a little bass fishing on the artificial reefs and possibly some shark fishing. The new club at Decatur is providing an outlet for students who have grown up around the water to expand on their love of fishing, while exposing other students who might not otherwise have the opportunity or access to the sport. During all club-sanctioned events, team members are being taught the importance of conservation of the abundant resources in the area including the concept of catch and release.