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South Effingham hooks new sport
Bass fishing
South Effingham has 10 anglers set to compete on its first bass fishing team. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

GUYTON — South Effingham High School has hooked another sport for its athletic department.

The Mustangs are jumping into bass fishing and not the other new sport recently sanctioned by the Georgia High School Association — flag football.

“I chose one and not the other because of interest,” South Effingham Athlethic Director Jeff Faith. “We are kind of land locked down here. Flag football would have been competing for field space, which we don’t have currently. 

“That’s another reason why I need another year before I start up flag football at South.”

Although the head coaching position for bass fishing has drawn interest, Faith is not in a rush to make a hire.

“I am going to take my time with that part,” he said. “I have three staff members who are interested and who are willing to take that position and run with it but I am just waiting it out right now.”

Unlike lacrosse, bass fishing will not be a club sport. The Mustangs will jump right into GHSA competition.

“There are pros and cons to it,” Faith said. “With lacrosse, we chose to go club because lacrosse is an area sport. For the ladies, there are only three schools around here that are part of our area. Otherwise the other part of the area is Atlanta and Augusta. So that’s just a lot of travel. 

“We had to build up some funds to buy uniforms. Once you get into being sanctioned, there’s a lot of guidelines and regulations you have to adhere too.”

Bass fishing isn’t a costly sport to fund, making it a reasonable addition to the school.

“Bass fishing is a small size,” Faith said. “It’s going to be economically feasible to have a bass fishing team that can compete with a school sanctioned uniform in that sense. The funding for it is going to be pretty much the way we fund all non-revenue sports. 

“They are going to do fundraisers to purchase the things they need to purchase. It’s not going to be a whole lot of funding required from the school level. They will do fundraisers to be able to subsidize for fuel.”

And, fortunately, there are a few students at South Effingham who are familiar with the sport. This makes the transition a little smoother and Faith is excited to see how the squad performs.

 “Locally, I guess kids would fish in local ponds and lakes that are close to us,” Faith said. “We have a couple boys here that already are bass fishing competitively. In fact, one has a canoe that he professionally fishes out of so we are excited about that and eager to see where it goes.”

Teams can be co-ed, although only four contestants are allowed per boat during competition. Four regional qualifiers will take place in January 2021 before the state meet in either March or April. Schools may have up to six boats competing at regionals. 

Only the top 15 boats will advance to the state meet. 

Bass fishing is listed as a winter sport by the GHSA.