For those of you who follow along with the Fisherman’s prestigious Interclub Contest that we sponsor every year, you know the comradery and fun that comes along with it — especially if you have participated in it yourself. Well, now a new contest is emerging and in the form of school competition. Just like Long Island schools compete against each other in sports like baseball, basketball and football, this “sport” is pure fishing and I’ll be the first to say, it’s about time.
The Long Island Rod Company is based out of Babylon, NY and they are the ones taking the lead with the new contest. The company itself is dedicated to creating affordable rods, reels and combos, designed for local waters. Products can be purchased at your local bait and tackle/fishing supply store.
LIRC High School Fishing League was created to give the same sportsmanship and competitiveness of other recognized high school sports to recreational saltwater fishing for Long Island high-schoolers, while promoting fishing to a new generation.
Students can compete by fishing normally throughout the year (April through November), photographing their catch with a free certified LIRC measuring tape, they will then send pictures and information of the top five fish caught in multiple local species to receive points. The club with the most points will win. This league is designed so a club of three students can easily compete with a club of 50-plus students.
I asked LIRC founder Brenden Rutigliano a few questions regarding the contest. He said, “my inspiration for starting the contest was just the overall idea of getting more kids involved in fishing since they’re our future.” He followed up by saying “the fact that most fishermen are older compared to high school and college kids is concerning and that needs to change.” I agree with Brenden fully, the youth is the future of everything we do now and without them some of our efforts will go in vain.
As I already mentioned, the contest is based off a points system and at the end of each month, the points are tallied and a leaderboard will be created and posted in the Fisherman Magazine. Twelve prizes will be the total. First through third will be overall points for all species and then there will be prizes for each individual species at the end of the season. What I just mentioned was for the individual fishing clubs but there also will be random Instagram contests for individual competitors that belong to clubs using the proper tags and hashtags supplied by LIRC.
The random Instagram prizes have been donated by local small businesses. Some of them include tackle, rods, reels and fishing trips that make for an even more exciting overall contest. For the final prize, it will be similar to the Stanley Cup. The winning club each year will get their club name engraved on the trophy and it will be proudly displayed at different local shop each season.
Heck, I wish something like this existed when I was still in high school so I naturally I am a full supporter of this. I’m also sure some of you are aware but various colleges also have fishing teams where students can receive scholarships. The concept is still fairly new on the college level but it’s developing I’m thrilled to supporting the beginning stages of this high school competition. If you are or know someone who might be interested in participating, Email LIRCOfficer@gmail.com or visit www.LongIslandRodCompany.com for more details.