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United Township students start bass fishing club

Bass fishing isn't always thought of right away as a typical high school sport, but two UT students have lured in their classmates to join their team.

EAST MOLINE, Ill. — When you think of high school sports, bass fishing isn't always top of mind. But, it is top of mind for Colin Balcaen.

"I've been fishing my whole life," said Balcaen.

Balcaen is a senior at United Township, and is one of the two students who got the bass fishing club started in 2021.

"Now I get to fish high school tournaments with my best friend Nolan," Balcaen said.

Nolan Dunsworth is a junior at United Township, and is the other student that helped the club cast off.

"When you're sitting on a boat and you've got a tree hanging off the bank and you're trying to cast up underneath of that, I mean it's kinda hard to do that here but you still get the sense of what you're trying to do," Dunsworth said.

But they also needed to lure in the school's superintendent to make it possible.

"I went to Dr. Morrow's office my sophomore year to get the club started, because I figured out that Moline, Rock Island, Geneseo, surrounding schools had it, and I was like 'that'd be really cool to have one at UT,'" Balcaen said.

They club was all set to start in 2020, but was cancelled at the last minute.

"COVID hit after our first meeting, so we didn't get to have it last year," Balcaen said.

The club has now held four practices. The first two were inside at United Township High School and practicing casting and other fishing techniques in the gym. The most recent two practices were held at TPC Deere Run.

At the first outdoor practice, about 10 students joined in, preparing for two IHSA tournaments.

Those two tournaments begin in May 2021.

These two life-long friends are reeling in their favorite pastime together, now with even more of their friends along shore.

United Township will face some tough competition. The bass fishing team at Moline High School has been a regular at the state tournament. Moline High School also took home a state championship after the 2013-2014 season.