The Fishing and Outdoor Radio Show hosted by Jim DaRosa and Don Dziedzina has a weekly segment dedicated to Illinois high school fishing. The segment is titled, Plano/Frabill’s Illinois High Schools Fish Here. The Illinois High School Association approved bass fishing as an official activity here in Illinois in 2009. Today, the number of high school fishing teams throughout the state has grown to over 235.The Radio Show hosts have keyed in on bringing high school fishing news and human interest stories to the show listeners, on the Illinois Outdoors TV show, and even on the Illinois High Schools Fish Here Facebook page. It's all to promote fishing and to give some recognition to young anglers.
“Our goal with this segment is to be the clearing house for high school fishing news.” said Jim DaRosa, the radio show founder. “We will interview coaches and others who have high school fishing related news every week so that we can acknowledge the accomplishments of the student anglers be it while fishing the IHSA tournaments, local fishing competitions, involvement in the community, or about their individual accomplishments in angling.” At the end of the school season, the radio show honors two high school teams, one north and one south of I-80, with the “Plano/Frabill’s Illinois High Schools Fish Here – Team of the Year” Award.
On April 22nd, the north division Team of the Year award was given to the Wheaton-Warrenville South High School Fishing Team. They truly exhibited the greatest effort to promote fishing not only at their school but also within their community.
At the awards ceremony, Warrenville Mayor David Brummel presented a nice proclamation to the Wheaton-Warrenville South Angler's Club.
What was it that made this team stand out to win this award?
Well, this team was established in the inaugural year of high school bass fishing in 2008-2009. in the 2011-2012 school year there were a total 35 student anglers. In 2013-2014 the club grew to 60. The number of freshmen anglers grew from 13 to 30. The team and coaches have been focused on growth and promotion of the sport.
Here are just a few examples of Promoting Fishing in the Community and School:
- 34 student anglers, some with little/no fishing experience, some never caught a fish.
- Only the top 8 student anglers are on the Sectional team that means 26 students are learning fishing a life long skill. Unlike some schools in Illinois have try out and make cuts….lots of kids left out.
- Team meets twice a week January to June for 1.5 hours
- Fishing Tigers have a website, a news letter, they tweet and Facebook and have a YouTube channel.
As for promoting fishing, the WWS team hosts the following:
- Casting and knot tying workshop open to all students and staff.
- Freshman orientation, have a booth to promote fishing to incoming freshman.
- Team Leaders meet with other students and the Activities Director 3X year to discuss ways to improve leadership and promote fishing in the school.
- Hosted the first ever DuPage Valley Conference Bass Fishing Tournament. Conference trophies given out.
Team Projects and Activities include:
- All school assembly to present the state trophy to the principal.
- Club entered a float in the Wheaton 4th of July Parade. .
- Attend Bass Pro Seminars
- Attend outdoor sport shows
- Alumni Days: Alums invited to team meetings to discuss fishing experiences.
Community Service projects include:
- Team Captain Chris Bulaw completed over 60 hours of service cleaning the Naperville River Walk on Earth Day,
- Working fishing booth at local elementary school Fun Fair.
- others offer free tutoring
- Volunteer at the local homeless shelter and food bank.
- Members team up with the DuPage County Forest Preserve to volunteer with their line recycling initiative and assist with other conservation efforts.
- Sectional Champs 2009, 10, 11, 12. State Runner Up 2013
The future of fishing lies in the hands of young anglers and with our support; they will grow and be able to enjoy the sport for the rest of their lives.
Sponsors of this event include: Plano, Frabill, Abu-Garcia, Bass Pro Shops, Strike King, Bass Minder Pflueger, War Eagle, Daiichi, Real Magic, Havoc, Trilene, Stand Out Hooks, Shakespeare, Ugly Stick, Reel Magic, Road Runner, Berkley, Rayjus Outdoors and Evon’s Trophies.
The Radio Show hosts established an “Illinois High Schools Fish Here” Facebook group for anyone interested in high school fishing, especially team members who are encouraged to join. At this time high school team members from all over Illinois post fishing reports, photos, ask questions, do some bragging and even share some fishing videos that they’ve made while on the water.