NEWPORT – Newport High School and one determined
junior classman is spearheading the advent of the
first high school bass fishing club in Washington
state. The Newport School board made it official at
their meeting Monday, March 6.
“We need the district’s approval and support so kids
can qualify for college scholarships,” said junior
Jack “JT” Long, who according to NHS principal Troy
Whittle, has been lobbying for more than a year to
get a student fishing club started in Newport.
“He came to me with the idea when he was a sophomore
and I liked it, so I told him to think about it some
more and come back if we was really serious about
doing it,” recalled Whittle. “Well, he kept coming
back and coming back and I finally said to Geoff
(Pearson, Assistant principal and Athletic
Director), ‘You know, I think he’s serious about
The club will be registered through The Bass
Federation (TBF) Student Angler Federation, a
nationwide educational program that introduces
students to fishing and highlights career and
educational opportunities through fishing. It is not
affiliated with the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic
Activities Association), like other high school
Long said the club needs about $500 to become an
actuality. It would receive some funds from the high
school’s Associated Student Body (ASB) fund,
fundraisers, and sponsors. The students will partner
with the Pend Oreille Bass Club who will lend boats
to the club to fish from. Long’s father, Steve Long,
will serve as the club’s coach and Travis Stott will
be the supervisor.
In order to be part of the club, students must pay
an annual fee of $25 so that the club itself and any
volunteer who participates in a club event are
covered by liability insurance. Each student
automatically qualifies for the High School Fishing
World Finals held this year June 27 through July 1
in Florence, Ala., on Lake Pickwick.
For the NHS Bass Club, there will be a total of four
tournaments throughout the season and there will be
practice two to three times a month.
“Obviously, there is some expectation that any
student that wants to be involved will have parents
that are willing to pay some transportation costs to
got to tournaments and compete,” Whittle said.
“Personally, I was surprised that no other school
has gotten on to this bandwagon. Someone just has to
be the first to put their stamp on it.”
Coach Steve Long added that the club utilizes and
promotes one of Pend Oreille Valley’s most important
“We have one of the most valuable resources there
is, which is the river,” he said. “It’s practically
right outside our front door, not to mention all the
lakes we have in Pend Oreille County alone. Not very
many other high schools can say this.”
A meeting was recently held at the high school and
organized by Jack Long to gauge student interest in
a fishing club. Around 20 students attended the
meeting and said they would join if one were formed.
The club is open to all genders in grades 9th
through 12th grade.
“Did any girls come to the meeting?” asked Newport
School Board Vice Chairwoman Connie Moore.
“Sadly, no,” quipped Long.
The first fishing tournament of the season is
scheduled at Lake Washington near Seattle on April
For more information, go to