Friday, July 9, 2010

Article About One Of My Youth Anglers From 2006, Lancaster New Era

I was thinking about some of the accomplishments that the many youngsters had during my tenure as a counselor with the Penn Manor School District in Millersville, Pa. With the help of the Lancaster County Hawg Hunters and Ray Caldwell, we took the in-school club to the rest community.

Much of the detail information (location, etc. ) has changed, but the Lancaster County Hawg Hunter Youth Club is still functioning.

If your child has a penchant for bass fishing, please look into the youth clubs in your area either through BASS or FLW.

Junior angler casts in world championship, wants more
0 Comments | Intelligencer Journal Lancaster New Era; Combined Saturday edition, Feb 28, 2006 | by AD CRABLE / OUTDOOR TRAILS

Every since he was 5 and first held a fishing rod, Zach Altland has dreamed of fishing in the Bassmaster Classic, the Super Bowl of professional bass fishing. As he got older, the 18-year-old Penn Manor High School senior not just fantasized about it, he made it a life goal. The Mountville-area resident took a giant step toward that achievement Feb.19. He and 44 of the nations best anglers from 15 to 18 years old squared off against each other in the 20th annual Junior Bassmaster World Championship on the Harris Chain of Lakes in central Florida. A separate category pitted state champion anglers ages 11 to 14 against each other. As is his nature, Altland took a bold chance and boated nearly two hours to a spot he had never fished. It gave him a mere three hours to cast. The strategy didnt pan out as a cold front and high winds shut down the lunkers that Altland had been told by an adult pro were there. Altland and 12 other anglers never caught a minimum-size largemouth. The winner of the event, Nick Kelly of Brownsville, Tenn., took home the $5,000 scholarship, a new boat and motor, and a trip to Disney World with a mere 2 pounds of fish. It was a gamble and it was worth it, says Altland, having none of that second-guessing himself. Hardly crushed with disappointment, Altland donned a pros penchant for showmanship when his boat was towed to the weigh-in. With a large crowd cheering wildly, Altland plunged his arm into the boats live well, frothed the water fooling the onlookers into thinking he was about to display a large bass then came up empty handed with a huge grin on his face. The crowd loved it. Hes a good sportsman. He doesnt have any problem losing, says his proud mother, Linda Altland. He always says catching fish is 80 percent luck and 20 percent skill. Certainly, Altland earning his way as Pennsylvanias champion proved he is proficient at casting, reading water, knowing his prey and many other intangibles that separated him from thousands of other kids his age. To get there he had to perform well in various tournaments around the state from spring to fall. Then, last Labor Day weekend in Presque Isle Bay, Altland easily won the Pennsylvania BASS Federations state championship by being the only one of 70 anglers to catch his limit of four bass both days of the tournament. Actually, this is Altlands second foray to the pinnacle of fishing, an almost unbelievable feat. He also qualified in 2003 when the tournament was called the Junior National Championship and held on a Missouri lake. He was shut out there, also. Altlands skills and personality were shaped through the Junior Hawg Hunter Club, where he has been a member since seventh grade. The club was founded 10 years ago at Martic Elementary School by guidance counselor Tom Boyd of Millersville to provide a wholesome, inexpensive activity for kids. It followed Boyd to Manor Middle School, where it continued to thrive. Today, the club is for any boy or girl from 11 to 18 years old and has members from as far as Harrisburg and Paoli. In addition to fishing some kids get their first exposure to the sport through the club it performs conservation projects. It meets at the West Lancaster Fire Hall at 1697 Temple Ave. the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call club adviser Ray Caldwell at 872-7949. The club provided Altland with $1,000 to help defray expenses to the junior championship. Next fall, Altland will attend York Technical Institute to fulfill another longtime quest to become a motorcycle mechanic. But fishing will not take a back seat. As soon as the slush clears, hell be out alone in his 14-foot johnboat, using his Baitcaster reel to cast for smallmouths on his beloved Susquehanna River. Before his 19th birthday, Altland will have to leave the Junior Hawg Hunters and become the youngest member of the parent club, the Lancaster County Hawg Hunters. Hell have an instant inspiration in member George Acord, the only Lancaster County resident ever to fish in the Bassmaster Classic. Acord has done it twice. Altland knows it will be a long and tough climb to the Classic. It will take a lot of hard work to get there, but Im willing to do it, he says determinedly from his home in an old farmhouse. He really still feels he can work his way to becoming a pro. And I think he can, too, says his mother. But all mothers believe in their sons. How about club adviser Caldwell? He just stays at it. Hes very good at changing and adapting, paying attention to whats around him. How about Boyd? Altland still has a lot to learn, he says, but his former pupil is a willing student. Zachs a very open young man, willing to learn. When he goes on the water hes very intense and focused. You can almost see him feeling the bottom when hes fishing a tube. And that is why, some day, you may see Zach Altland in a Bassmaster Classic.
Copyright 2006 Lancaster Newspapers
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