Thanks to local teacher and angler Jason Cain, fishing-lovers at Fort High have a reason to celebrate.
FFHS will have its own sport-fishing team early next year.
As Cain puts it, it's a plan that has been on his mind for quite a while.
“The idea for a high school fishing team at FFHS was something that has been on my radar for some time, as the concept is huge in the U.S. and is rapidly growing just south of us in Minnesota,” Cain noted Monday.
“It wasn't until this year, when a group of eager students approached me about creating the team, that I really started to put a lot a thought into it.”
To get the plan in motion, Cain said the first thing he did was contact Jeff (“Gussy”) Gustafson, who lives in Keewatin, as someone he could bounce ideas off who was eager to help.
After that, Cain attended a Sport Fishing Careers workshop in Brainerd, Mn. in October, where he was put into contact with Jason Bahr.
“Jason [Bahr] is one of the founders of the Brainerd Warriors' high school fishing team, and was more than willing to help us get started here in Fort Frances,” said Cain.
“Through many conversations with Jason, my father [Doug Cain], and my principal [Bill Daley], the plan started to unfold.”
The fishing team at Fort High is expected to get going in the new year with a more club-like setting, where students will attend sessions at lunch or after school that will focus on various fishing-related topics, building fishing rods and lures, and listening to guest speakers.
“The plan now is to get the students out to compete in our own club event and maybe at one or two other events come May and June, and then maybe again in September,” Cain explained.
“It is possible that we may even find an event to fish come summer,” he added.
"Currently, I am looking at some events taking place in Minnesota, but there are people working hard at trying to get a club started in Kenora.
“With all the water and the many species of fish we have in Northwestern Ontario, we are sure to have some high school students with strong angling skills,” Cain said.
Early reactions to news of a high school fishing team have been positive, he added, with both students and adults already offering their services to help the program.
“I had around 25 students come to an informational session I held last week [at Fort High], with many students that tracked me down since then that are interested,” Cain noted.
“Initially when I posted the news on my Facebook page, I had an outstanding response from the community and a handful of those responses were in the form of a helping hand,” he enthused.
"I even had some former students offer help, but not before they joked about, 'Why didn't we have this when I was in high school?'
“The program is going to be a work in progress, and I'm sure we will run into some bumps along the way,” Cain conceded.
“It's going to take a strong team to ensure that this is successful,” he stressed.
For those interested in helping out, or who just want to learn more about the program, contact Cain via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org