Local teacher Eddie Vogel wanted to start a bass fishing team at Columbus East High School, and he had the perfect bait to attract new members.
He just threw junior Chase Banister into the competitive waters.
“Chase wanted to take on the meetings and grow our club,” said Vogel, an assistant football coach who now has added head fishing coach to his titles. “He has really taken over the nuts and bolts of what a bass club should be.”
Not only did Banister get the club rolling, he paired with senior teammate Patrick Volland to finish fourth in the team’s first venture into the Indiana High School State Bass Fishing Championship on June 9 at Patoka Lake in Southern Indiana.
The Olympians entered a pair of two-person teams and one one-person team into the state competition.
“We wanted to keep the club small the first year,” Banister said. “But I would like to see it grow as large as we can make it now. I anticipate double-digit members next year.”
At the state tournament, Banister and Volland caught three fish that weighed a combined seven pounds. That was three pounds and 13 ounces under the championship team’s haul. The one-day tournament attracted 16 schools from around the state.
It took about eight hours for Banister and Volland, who started at first light, to catch their three keepers.
Volland won’t get another shot with the Olympians as he is headed for IUPUC in the fall.
“It think it was pretty big,” he said of the fourth-place finish. “It’s cool that we can say that we got fourth place in the state, especially since it was our first year.”
Although Banister was competing for East for the first time, he has been active in bass fishing tournament for quite some time.
He said he has earned more than $1,400 in tournament winnings.
“I’ve had a love of fishing since I was little,” he said. “Once I figured I could do it and win some money, I never stopped.”
Volland said he has talked with Banister about someday forming an open fishing league that would offer tournaments every weekend throughout the season. Both likely will need to finish college before that goal could be accomplished.
As far as next year’s high school team, Vogel said he would like to see 20 or even 30 students participating.
It will help that Banister has made the fishing team his senior project. In addition to organizing club meetings, he will be signing up sponsors.