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Fishing team pursues charity work, wins tournament

Competing+at+the+Young+Life+Tournament%2C+junior+Isaac+Heuchan%2C+senior+Sam+Cook+and+juniors+Andrew+Kaptzan+and+Trey+Wakefield+show+off+a+newly+caught+red+drum+which+helped+them+win+second+place+April+20%2C+2018.+To+compete%2C+members+had+to+submit+a+photo+of+each+fish+with+an+official+tournament+measuring+device.+
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Fishing team pursues charity work, wins tournament

Competing at the Young Life Tournament, junior Isaac Heuchan, senior Sam Cook and juniors Andrew Kaptzan and Trey Wakefield show off a newly caught red drum which helped them win second place April 20, 2018. To compete, members had to submit a photo of each fish with an official tournament measuring device.

Competing at the Young Life Tournament, junior Isaac Heuchan, senior Sam Cook and juniors Andrew Kaptzan and Trey Wakefield show off a newly caught red drum which helped them win second place April 20, 2018. To compete, members had to submit a photo of each fish with an official tournament measuring device.

Used with permission: Jenny Burdick

Competing at the Young Life Tournament, junior Isaac Heuchan, senior Sam Cook and juniors Andrew Kaptzan and Trey Wakefield show off a newly caught red drum which helped them win second place April 20, 2018. To compete, members had to submit a photo of each fish with an official tournament measuring device.

Used with permission: Jenny Burdick

Used with permission: Jenny Burdick

Competing at the Young Life Tournament, junior Isaac Heuchan, senior Sam Cook and juniors Andrew Kaptzan and Trey Wakefield show off a newly caught red drum which helped them win second place April 20, 2018. To compete, members had to submit a photo of each fish with an official tournament measuring device.

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Gazing at the open water of Tampa Bay, it isn’t unusual to see fishermen of all backgrounds getting their catch. The sport has been popular in Tampa for years, and now it has found a home at Plant High School.  

The Fishing Club and Team was founded by junior Isaac Heuchan, who also serves as board president. For Heuchan, however, creating a team is more than just a hobby – it’s following a lifelong passion. 

“I was fishing on Bayshore when I was little and always loved it,” Heuchan said. “I bought a kayak and went fishing a lot, mainly for freshwater fish … and then got a boat and now I’m fishing a lot of saltwater.” 

One of Heuchan’s goals for the club and team is to assemble student fishermen into a community. With this network of students, those who are interested in the sport have others to fish with.  

“There’s many anglers in Plant High School that love to fish but they don’t have that many people to fish with because they don’t know anybody,” Heuchan said. “So I wanted to get something together so that … we could fish, have fun and do community service and just get out there on the water.” 

The team has already participated in local competitions and has emerged victorious. At these tournaments, members were judged based on type of fish caught, the quantity and the size. In the Grand Slam Tournament, the team won first place and in the Young Life Tournament they won second place.  

“You always just go out there for the adventure and that’s what makes it fun,” Heuchan said. “You never know if you’re going to catch fish or not and you never know what you’re going to catch.” 

Besides fishing recreationally and competitively, the team has also participated in multiple community service projects. The group has worked with organization Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and participated in multiple clean-ups.  

“[Fishing] lets you be more aware of the environment – like the trash and things like that around Tampa Bay,” senior and club finance director Evan Passath said. “It’s really nice to know that you’ve impacted either someone or something or just Tampa Bay in general.” 

In addition to their environmental work, the fishing team has also allied themselves with Angling for Relief, an organization that allows pediatric cancer patients to learn how to fish and enjoy the outdoors. Team members teach fishing basics to the children, as well as tips and tricks.  

“It’s made an impact by being able to help people, especially little kids who don’t get to do that stuff,” junior and club marketing director Mary Paige Porter said. “It’s really awesome to let them experience things that they don’t get to experience.” 

Whether it’s volunteering with multiple organizations or competing against other teams, the Fishing Team continues to make waves in the community.  

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Fishing team pursues charity work, wins tournament