High school fishing team reels in a trip to Nationals

Working the waters looking to hook the big one has become more than just a competition among friends. Fishing buddies from Strawberry Crest High School have teamed up to create a new high school sport.

The team is the first and only fishing club in Hillsborough County that casts against other high schools. They've beaten the best.

The biggest catch in their first year has been reeling in a trip to the National High School Fishing Championship (July 22-25) on Kentucky Lake near Nashville. It's still sinking in.

"It's still kind of a surprise," said Colten Smith.

"Golly, that's wild," said Brandon White. "Being able to say I'm one of three teams going to Nationals competing in our first year as a team. It's cool to be able to say that."

Strawberry Crest is sending two of the state's top three teams that will be competing in Kentucky next month. Two teams made up three underclassman and one senior. How did they get so good at this?

"Practice, practice, practice and studying too," said White.

Going to Kentucky, these boys are going to be fish out of their own water. Typically they fish in waters 6-8 feet and close to the shore. Kentucky's lake will have depths reaching 35 feet which creates a new challenge.

"It's totally different," said Jonathan North.

How can they prepare for the biggest tournament of the year on an unfamiliar lake?

"A lot of research is basically all we can do," said Smith. "We can't really go pre-fish it."

These four have already become the big fish at Strawberry Crest and they're enjoying the ride to the championship. They don't want this to be a fish tale about the one that got away.

"This tournament is something that could change our lives, if we won," said North. "It's something we can tell our kids and grandkids about. Who knows, one day it could even get us up to that next level. This is something we call love."

The team is trying to raise money for the trip online: http://www.gofundme.com/x54kus.