Banks County High School has added a Fishing Club to its already strong athletic program. The program will start as a club and eventually transition to a team.

According to Josh Shoemaker, the club's organizer and sponsor, it is currently open to all 7th-12th graders who are in good academic standing and are eligible to compete in athletics at the middle school and high school.

The teams will consist of two anglers and a captain. Captains must be an adult who has passed a background check with the Banks County Board of Education.

"Our goal is to compete in the GHSF High School league," Shoemaker said. "The league is a competitive environment with other bass fishing clubs but limits the travel that other tournaments might require. Based on our participation and success, we are looking forward to competing in the GHSA as an official sport sometime in the future."

The competitions are held at Lake Lanier and Lake Hartwell. Shoemaker adds that all boats enter the water early in the mornings and participate in water safety meetings before the competition begins.

The goal is to catch a five-bass limit and weigh in at the end of the daily competition. The total weight from all five fish will determine place. Each tournament will allow clubs to earn points that accrue over the six tournaments. The club with the most amount of points will be given the championship title.

Shoemaker also adds that the team is seeking sponsorships that are board approved which will help pay for jerseys, tournament fees and club costs.

"This is an excellent option for the students of Banks County," Shoemaker said. "It is one of the sports where men and women can compete. We have had nothing but positive feedback about it. Mike Cleveland has done a tremendous job on the research and development of this club. We have researched other existing fishing clubs. Considering student safety as a priority, this club will give students an excellent opportunity to be part of one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation. There are a lot of advantages: students can win collegiate scholarships, education of understanding how important our waterways are to the environment, and give them opportunities to grow as young adults."

Any students, parents, or community members interested, can reach out to Shoemaker at

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