Several Coast teams are competing in the Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation High School state championship.
D'Iberville, George County, Hancock, Pearl River Central, St. Martin, Jackson County Home School (East Central, Vancleave) and West Harrison are the only local schools with fishing teams.
The season opened on Nov. 28 with the Mississippi Nation high school open at the Columbus Pool of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
The Warriors finished second in the event, with Coty Seaton and Marcus Kulp leading the way. Delvin Milsted and Chris Triplett of St. Martin won the high school division with three fish weighing 8.33 pounds. They also had the lunker of the tournament weighing 3.2 pounds.
St. Martin coach Chris Rivers is grateful for the state fishing championships' existence. Milsted and Triplett won three of the four state prep events last year for St. Martin. Adam Poelma is an assistant coach for the Yellow Jackets.
"Some of these kids don't participate in other sports," Rivers said. "A Fishing club gives them a chance to represent their schools. They look forward to competing in these tournaments."
D'Iberville coach Steven Ramsey agrees.
"The Bassmasters tournament is a big deal for the kids," Ramsey said. "Kids can get college scholarships and win prize money."
The high school and junior teams with the most points from the two state championship events will qualify for the 2016 Costa Bassmaster National High School Championship and the 2016 Junior Bassmaster Championship, respectively. A point system is used to determine the Bassmaster National High School Championship qualifiers from the open team trail. Points are based on the position each team places in each open.
Each team consists of two anglers and a adult captain, who must drive the boat. The entry fee for each tournament is $85 per team.
The open team trail consists of five tournaments, which teams across the state compete in. Two of those events serve as the Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation state championship for the prep and junior anglers.
Gulfport Lake/Buck Bay is the next stop on the tour on Feb. 27. The remaining open team schedule is Ross Barnett Reservoir (March 26); Ross Barnett (April 16); and Ross Barnett (May 7). The March 26 and May 7 tournaments at Ross Barnett will be for the high school and junior state championships.
Joey Cates is D'Iberville's assistant coach.