Chelsea High students vie for fishing championship

“Since I was about 5 years old, I have wanted to become a professional fisherman,” said Chelsea High School freshman Alex Boroughs.

And he has made a good start.

There was no extracurricular club at school that he and his friends wanted to join, Boroughs said, so they convinced their English teacher, Janna Watts, to sponsor a hunting and fishing club.

Watts said she is very excited about the club which presently has about 40 members.

“We are hoping that rising interest across the state will lead to bass fishing becoming an AHSAA (Alabama High School Athletic Association) sanctioned sport in the near future,” she said.

On March 6, club members participated in the Alabama High School Bass Fishing Team Championship tournament on Joe Wheeler Lake in Decatur. This tournament was the first of three qualifying competitions leading to the regional championship tournament to be held on Logan Martin Lake in June.

This is the first year of the Alabama tournament. Eight schools from across the state, participated with 16 boats carrying an adult captain and two student fishermen each.

Chelsea competitors included Skyliar Harris and Ryan Sims in the boat with Chris Daffron, and Boroughs and Landon Lowery with Dean Ramey.

Boroughs and Lowery came in sixth with 6.34 pounds of fish, missing a place in the championship tournament by two-tenth’s of an ounce.

Boroughs said he’d rather not talk about the one that got away.

Ramey said both boys learned a lot about tournament fishing and have two more chances to qualify for the regional. If they finish in the top five at either of the next two tournaments, they will then fish for the Alabama High School Championship, he said.

Boroughs said the week before the Joe Wheeler competition, Ramey took him to the lake to scout out good fishing spots.

“He was very generous and wouldn’t take money to help pay for gas or his time. Without him we couldn’t have done this first tournament. He also tournament fishes and gave us lots of great tips and advice,” Boroughs said.

Ramey said he enjoyed taking the boys and will gladly take them again.

“I hope that I can help them further along in their fishing and sportsmanship,” he said. “I wish that schools had something like this years ago when I was in school, other than your normal sports.”

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e-mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net.