Windsor Bass fishing team sending a pair of teams to national championships in August
April 7, 2018
In early August, four members of the Windsor Wizards high school bass fishing team will drop a line in Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tenn.
But they wont get the chance to kick their feet up and relax.
They will, however, get to enjoy their time in the sun, competing against over 200 other teams at the National Bass Anglers Sportsman Society — B.A.S.S. for short — Championships on Aug. 2-4.
"I'm just looking to have a good time, go fishing and have some fun," high school angler Jake Burton said. "We're looking to win, but on the other hand fishing is about having fun."
The teams of Colton Colwell and Brody Shelton and Turner and Brandon Brekke qualified for nationals by finishing first and second, respectively, at the state championships at Lake Pueblo in August. They topped teams from Pueblo West, Roaring Fork and Front Range — a combination of anglers from Adams County schools.
The team of Caden Wood and Joseph Gleason finished third and will serve as alternatives for nationals.
Recommended Stories For You
Colton Collwell qualified two years ago, and Jake Burton and Brandon Brekke qualified last year, so the Wizards bring experience with them to Kentucky Lake.
"Honestly it's gonna help a lot, because I know what to expect," Burton said. "At first, I didn't know the water was so shallow, and I just wasn't aware of how much there was to work with."
That experience could prove crucial, especially since they will be missing two practice days.
Just days before the high school championships, the junior championships will be held just 40 minutes down the road at Carrol County Thousand Acre Lake in Huntingdon, Tenn.
The Windsor junior team, the Fighting Fish Sticks, have a pair of teams competing. So they don't have to bring another pair of boats, the two older teams will be lending their boats and coaches — adults that drive the boat and give advice — to the juniors.
"It's kind of cool for the high schoolers to say 'you know what, use our boats and do your tournament,'" advisor Frank Villa said
When they do get on the water, though, they won't be short on practice.
"Honestly, I go out any time I have a chance. Every day it's sunny out," Burton said. "We have ponds where we live, so we just go out and practice."
And since state and nationals are the only official high school events, Villa has set up four open tournaments throughout the summer.
Anglers don't need to be a part of a high school team, they just need to be high-school age and registered with B.A.S.S.
"Opens are a great way for kids in high school to be able to compete and fish the national format and learn what it's all about," Villa said. "And hopefully start a club at their school."
But that's only one of the many things Villa, who works as a Greeley firefighter, has done to make the Windsor team as successful as it is.
He has hooked up hundreds of high school anglers with reels, bait and any other equipment they have needed to get going.
And that doesn't include the others he's impacted.
In his 10-plus years of experience, he estimates that he has taught over 1,000 kids how to fish.
"I can't stress how helpful Frank has been, he controls everything," Burton said. "It does have a lot to do with us, but he does all the dirty work."