SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — In a year full of honors, a fisherman from Martha Layne Collins High School just landed his biggest.
Evan Fields, 17, has spent years floating on Guist Creek Lake in Shelby County, hoping to catch the winning bite.
For some, fishing is just a hobby, but for experienced anglers like Fields, it’s so much more.
“Something that always interested me and became a passion and that’s what it became,” says Fields.
High school student Martha Layne Collins High School is among the top 12 high school anglers nationwide to earn a spot on the All-American Bassmaster High School fishing team.
“It’s amazing. It’s still surreal. I can’t believe it. Twelfth in the country and I’m one of them, that’s what’s hard to believe, it’s crazy,” a Fields said.
More than 400 nominations nominating students in grades 10 through 12 were submitted from 34 states across the country. Of these, they chose 53 students as Bassmaster All-State Anglers. But they only select 12 anglers to the All-American team.
“I had a great career as a high school fisherman. I guess that’s just what I worked for. It was worth it to be all-American,” adds Fields.
They selected areas for the honor based on his success in bass tournament competitions, his academic performance and his leadership in conservation and community service, according to Bassmaster.
To be considered for the All-State Fishing Team, a student must have been nominated by a parent, coach, teacher, or other school officials.
“You just have to be able to adapt and do everything. You can’t focus on just one thing. You have to be able to fish in the conditions,” suggests Fields.
The seasoned fisherman attributes his success to his perseverance in practice and his excellent boat captain.
“I wanted to do it for my dad. He put in so much effort and so much time for me that he didn’t have to do it and so I’m glad I got to do it for him,” Fields says.
Above all, Fields says patience is a virtue of good anglers.
“Honestly, it’s muscle memory at this point. A lot of practice that comes into play. You have to be able to hit your spots, you have to be able to cast and do everything right,” Fields said.
Meanwhile, the 2022 All-American team has been invited to participate in an exclusive Bassmaster High School All-American tournament in Texas next month.
The rising teenager is motivated to represent the Bluegrass State while doing the activity he is passionate about.
“I have a ton of self-confidence. I think I can go out there and win this thing. At least I hope so. That’s the plan. Don’t enter a tournament if you think you can’t win,” suggests Fields.
Fields plans to continue his career fishing bass at the college level for the University of Campbellsville.