Two North Dakota brothers represented our state this past weekend at the 10th Annual High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship.
KX News sat down with Hazen natives who tell us for them, fishing is like second nature.
“Well, I have been fishing ever since I could walk. Our dad had us in the mountains of Montana actually catching trout in the streams,” says Dylan Martell.
18-year-old Dylan and his 15-year-old brother Austin were born to fish. Their dad tells says it was the plan all along.
“I had a friend of mine tell me to get them hooked on hunting and fishing and says they won’t have any money for drugs and alcohol and they spend a lot of money of fishing equipment,” says their father, Brad Martell.
And like with any brothers, there can be some tense moments..
“I mean we do every once in a while, but not while we are fishing. We are usually pretty cool,” says Dylan.
Their dad says when they’re out on the water their strengths and weaknesses complement each other. “They’re both usually doing something different and together they figure things out that way and what’s working best on that day.”
The two recently competed in the National High School Fishing Championship on Lake Pickwick in Alabama, which they say was a little bit different from the fishing they were used to.
“Probably getting the baits to the bottom when we were fishing and at 25 to 15 feet deep, ’cause we aren’t used to it because it’s like four to five feet deep here. So it was just hard to keep the bait down at the bottom,” says Austin.
Dylan and Austin ended up getting 31st out of 66 boats. They say they never went in thinking they were going to win, but they are just happy for the experience.
“It feels really good. We didn’t do as well as we wanted to the first two days obviously, but it just feels good that we were able to weigh a limit of fish and represent North Dakota,” Dylan says.
Austin adds, “Yeah, it was cool that we were the only team down there and it was fun.”
The brothers also hope this will encourage more kids and schools to look into fishing programs. “I’d like to see all the schools in North Dakota pick it up,” says Dylan. “It’s just a great opportunity for all the high schoolers to do something they love.”
They ended up traveling 45 miles across Lake Pickwick and caught three fish weighing in at 7 lbs, 11 oz.
Unfortunately, Dylan will be too old to qualify for the tournament next year, but Austin says he has a few friends in mind who could take his place.
The tournament brought in over $2.8 million in scholarships and prizes.