Fishing for a win

Nixa fishing team strives for greatness after losing season during COVID-19



The Nixa High School fishing team members spend countless hours at the lake.

A Nixa fishing member casts his reel into the lake water, making sure that the water is the right temperature. Waiting patiently for a fish to bite, they relax with friends. Suddenly, there is a tug on the line. When reeling the fish up it wiggles around in an attempt to get away. There is an excitement all around. They weigh the fish to see it is a whopping 12 pounds, then soon put it in an ice chest. They continue fishing knowing they have successfully accomplished a catch for the day. The Nixa fishing team is made up of 30 members who have worked hard to make up for the season they lost last year. They started their season early in September and November to get a head start. Since the start of their season, the fishing team has finished in first place for a qualifying tournament and had two teams qualify for the National Championship. Nixa fishing coach Scott Sparkman has been coaching the fishing team since 2014. However he has been fishing for about 38 years in total. “I have always enjoyed working with students in a coaching or mentoring role,” Sparkman said. “It provides an opportunity to share specific knowledge related to the sport, and also incorporate appropriate life lessons.” The team has had a refreshing amount of new members as well as returning veterans. All members are working to improve and finish high at the National Youth Fishing Association tournament. Junior Bradley Vorse has been fishing for 12 years, following in his grandfather’s footsteps, and has been on the Nixa fishing team for four years. Being out on the water and achieving goals gives him the opportunity to do what he loves.
“My main goal is to perform the best I can each time and make a good placement,” Vorse said. While finding the fish can be the most important component, there are some schools that have strong teams. Republic, Ozark and Bolivar are Nixa’s biggest competitors. While there are rookies on the team, there are some ways to become an expert fisher. “We constantly spend time on the water fishing, practicing casting, knot tying, map studying and making internet searches for fishing information,” Sparkman said. “You are not always going to catch fish, but each trip you gain more knowledge and the catching
becomes more consistent.” Sophomore Peyton Lemmon has been fishing for as long as he can remember. “I just love the adrenaline you have as you fish,” Lemmon said. “It has been fun to have the challenge of going out there and fishing, but also having fun with my teammates.” Members of the fishing team have the opportunity to qualify for the National Fishing Association Championship and compete to win a $100,000 college scholarship. However, winning isn’t the only goal. “My goals would be for team members to have fun and gain a lifelong passion for fishing,” Sparkman said.