When the Southeast Texas High School Fishing Association hosted its first tournament on Dec. 7 of 2013, no one could have seen this coming. “I arrived at the ramp that morning at about 3:45 am and there were already 70 boats in the parking lot” said SETX President and Lumberton HS advisor Bryan Thomas. “We had to grow up real fast that day and we learned an awful lot throughout the 2013 season” he continued. While no one could have prophesized 262 HS fishing teams on that cold windy day at Sam Rayburn, it is not hard to predict where the sport is headed in the future. Thomas went on to say “We are absolutely thrilled with what we accomplished in our first year, but we know we can do even better for our kids in the upcoming season”.
“The most interesting thing we learned last year is that while we quickly became the largest HS fishing trail in the country, we know that HS fishing in our area is still in its infancy and that we must keep preparing for what the future will bring in this sport” said SETX VP Tom Selman, who is also the advisor at Port Neches High School. “One of our goals is to give every kid in SE Texas the opportunity to fish competitively for their respective high school” Selman continued. Last year, 28 SETX schools took part in that December tournament on Rayburn. This year, the group expects to see at least 40 SE Texas high schools take part in the 2014-2015 season opener at Rayburn on Dec. 6th. Selman goes on to say “The tournaments are the fun part, but keeping up with the growth requires all of us to work months ahead in order to provide the best opportunities for the kids of SE Texas”.
“Our primary focus as an organization last year was to provide our kids with an end of year championship that the world of HS fishing had never seen before, and we did that” said SETX Treasurer Ted O’Dell, who is also the team advisor at Buna High School. The season ending championship paid out $60,000.00 in scholarships to the young anglers of SE Texas. “Some of those kids are in college now and are using that money to help them further their education and better their lives, that is what this is all about” continued O’Dell. The inaugural season was obviously a huge success for SETX, but do not expect the same in the upcoming season, expect more! “We know we must work even harder to provide more opportunities for our young anglers this season and we aim to do that” said O’Dell.
So what factors have contributed to the tremendous growth of the sport in such a short time? “We have relatively easy access to some of the best lakes and facilities in the world here in SE Texas” said Thomas. “Add to that, the financial support we have received from corporations and local businesses, the number of avid anglers in our area, and it is a recipe for success. We know that our sponsors are the key to everything we do for our kids and we can’t thank them enough for their continued support of SETX”.
2014-2015 SETX HS Fishing Assoc. Sponsors
Title Sponsor- South Texas Ford Dealers Assoc.
Presenting Sponsor- Skeeter/Yamaha
Lews, Academy, STI, Coastal Field Services, West LTD, Gopher Industries, Bass King, Lake Fork Tackle/Rod Sox, Lowrance, Kick N Bass, Rattletrap.
With the help of these sponsors, SETX will provide a 100% payback of the $40 per team entry fee at all qualifying tournaments this upcoming season. As always, food and door prizes will also continue to be a part of every event. Excitement, thrills, and even heartbreak are sure to be a part of every tournament this season.
Thomas continues, “We are excited about the upcoming season and more than anything, we just want to help provide a family type atmosphere at our weigh ins and where our kids and captains can have fun on the water, be safe, and enjoy themselves on the water”.
For more information about the SETX HS Fishing Association, please visit
-Story submitted by Jet Donovan