Two weeks after competing in a National Fishing competition, two young anglers are still out to catch the big one.
14-year-old Gabe Verkamp and 15-year-old Judd Linnette are both from Jasper. The week of June 23rd, the duo traveled to LaCrosse, Wisconsin to compete in the 11th Annual High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship.
In the competitions, scoring is based on the weight of the fish that are caught. Bass and smallmouth fish are typical in these competitions. Judd and Gabe say that a typical day on the water during these competitions is about 8 hours.
Competing in the World and National Competitions was a unique experience for both Gabe and Judd.
“I thought it was a pretty cool experience to get to go fish in the world and national championship,” Judd says.
” It’s more than you think because you don’t think that there are that many boats until you get on the water,” Gabe says.
Gabe and Judd finished 112th out of over 300 teams in the competition.
The two have been fishing for as long as they can remember. Both becoming interested in it from watching their father and grandfathers.
Judd’s father, Andy Linnette says he can remember Judd fishing off of a little red wagon in their backyard when he was a young child.
Judd only got into competitive fishing last year and asked Gabe to join him in his endeavors.
Judd started competing after he went on the Indiana Bass Federation website and signed up for the Youth Division North. Judd’s father, Andy explains how that works.
“They have got a club for students just like this, without a high school team and without a community team. So they’ll take them in and you can fish the Tournament Trail that they have,” Andy says.
Andy is the captain of the two during these competitions. He stays in the boat with the boys as they fish and drive, the boat, among other things. However, the two are encouraged to make a lot of decisions and work the equipment they have.
“The boys are encouraged to run the trolling motor and make all the decisions. We can help them make decisions about where to go and what baits to use, but it’s primarily all the boys,” Andy says.
Gabe says, at first, fishing competitively wasn’t necessarily on his radar.
“I kind of didn’t tell my buddy, Judd. He asked me if I wanted to do it I said yeah,” Gabe says.
So what’s next on the duo’s radar? Well, they will be competing again in the next few weeks at Rocky Point in Cannelton.
Judd and Gabe say that they plan on competing for the rest of the year.
If you or your child is interested in competitive fishing, head to IndianaBass.com