Freshwater fishing is one of the most calming pastimes there is, and honestly, it’s the one sport I live for. Whether it’s open water or on ice, I’m always ready to reel in a lunker or two. When I’m not fishing, I always seem to be fiddling with rods and reels or watching YouTube videos on the sport and learning new techniques for upcoming fishing trips. Fishing is the one hobby I love most, and I think it’s about time Manchester Memorial High School gets a fishing club of our own.
There are many many many ways a fisherman can set out to hook up with a beautiful specimen. Firstly, and possibly the most important thing to do, is set a goal for yourself. With each fishing trip, you should first choose a location and then set a target species to go for based on the location of choice. Personally, my favorite fish to reel in is a solid smallmouth bass. When I go up to Newfound Lake every August, this is the species I plan on catching more than any other because they are so plentiful and healthy in this lake in particular. These fish are one of the hardest fighting fish I have caught in freshwater. To reach your goal of catching your target species at a certain location, you should determine what lures or baits to use for the upcoming trip in question.
Lure choice can make or break a fishing trip. Depending on how clear or unclear water is, you may want to throw different types of baits. For clear open water conditions, you may want to throw something that relies on color or certain movements. If the water is muddy, you may want to throw something bright or something that doesn’t even use color to its advantage at all. You may want to cast out something that relies more on vibration or sound than sight. Of course, this all depends on more than just water clarity. It may depend on time of day, time of the year, weather, barometric pressure, fishing pressure, what area of the lake you are fishing, etc..
New Hampshire is a surprisingly fantastic state to fish all year round. Though fishermen around the Granite State fantasize about going up to Maine and Canada for northern pike slams or going east to the border of Vermont and New York for the chance to catch a super rare, endangered white sturgeon, NH anglers have a wide variety of gamefish for ourselves. I believe, even with the growing number of fishermen in our state, nowadays fishing New Hampshire waters is often taken for granted. The lakes and water bodies in NH are amazing fisheries that are absolutely filled with beautiful trout, bass, and other hard-fighting gamefish. We also have a large variety of gorgeous panfish in our state including jumbo white and yellow perch, bluegill and pumpkinseed, and even more!
What I propose however, is a highly interactive after school program where students could learn to appreciate New Hampshire waters and the countless species within them, while also learning new and efficient techniques to reel in beautiful specimens. If Memorial were to create a club where fishing was the main focus, students could learn firstly how to fish for a specific species and what rigs or tactics to use for that respective fish, but also how to clean fish and properly cook a variety of specimens. Lastly, and possibly the most important aspect of it all, this club can teach student anglers why it is so important to keep lakes, rivers, and streams clean for the fish population to not only survive, but also thrive.
The MMHS Fishing Team could run throughout the whole school year, where students can learn to fish during all of NH’s four seasons: late summer, then fall, then winter, then spring, and then also early summer. As previously stated, New Hampshire is one state where all four seasons appear dramatically throughout the year, and therefore the fishing conditions change quite regularly.
In cold autumn situations, students can learn to fish certain types of baits that would create reaction strikes from large bass. Since the water temperatures are dropping in the fall months, fish are becoming less active and certain baits in particular will specialize for these conditions. Winter offers a much different approach to fishing altogether that would be new to most young anglers at Memorial, and that would be ice fishing. Ice fishing allows anglers to go out to places that normally would be unreachable to them in open water unless they had a boat, and also allows for one of the most thrilling trout hookups imaginable in my opinion. Students can also learn about ice safety through this club which is one of the most important aspects to having a successful day on the ice. Spring and early summer in particular would have to be my second favorite time of the year to fish next to the frigid winter months. Fish are starting to warm back up at this time as the water temperatures do and fish become progressively more aggressive and tend to bite more frequently.
With so many ways to fish and so much time to do it throughout the school year, I personally believe this could be a great stress reliever from the mounds of school work students are faced with, while also an amazing opportunity to teach students invaluable skills and lessons about one of New Hampshire’s greatest resources: our waters.
Again, there would be plenty of time throughout the school year to take part in this club. Starting right at the beginning of each school year in September until the end of the year in June, students can have opportunities to relax and reel in a gorgeous lunker or two. As a more exciting addition to the club, I personally believe it would be quite cool if the future MMHS Fishing Team had fishing derbies about once a month. These derbies can range from specie to specie, but I believe the host lake of choice would have to be the absolute beaut right in our backyard: Lake Massabesic.
Oddly enough, Lake Massabesic also happens to be one of New Hampshire’s only water bodies that anglers are allowed to fish at all year round. Most other lakes have set dates where you must stop fishing until the lakes freeze over and it is safe to start the ice fishing season; for most lakes and ponds in New Hampshire, this date is October 31. Lake Massabesic has specific rules and regulations however that state otherwise, creating more opportunities for monthly fishing derbies with the future MMHS Fishing Team. The fishing derby aspect of the club would work to create a friendly competition between members of the team and the winner of each one of these derbies could be given something as simple as a $10.00 gift card to the Bass Pro Shop in Hooksett to pick out a new lure of their choice.
Overall, I would absolutely love to get Memorial’s own fishing club up and running by the end of December, and hopefully we could get a meeting together for the start of the ice fishing season in January. As the first year that we would be starting this club, yes we would be starting the fishing year late, but it would be just in time for safe ice out on Lake Massabesic. I do honestly believe this could start to develop into something young anglers at Memorial can look forward to each week and will be an amazing learning opportunity for students to appreciate New Hampshire waters and the countless species within them, while also being able to teach students efficient techniques to reel in their target specimens.