Young anglers attending Bullard High School in the 2017-2018 school year, along with their parents, are encouraged to attend the first meeting of the new school year for the Bullard Panther Fishing Club, to be held 7 p.m. Monday, July 10, inside the Bullard High School cafeteria.
“We’re ready for the new season,” said Tim Haugh, Bullard Panther Fishing Club advisor and president of the Texas High School Bass Association. “We’ve always have been successful as a club with several teams at the top of the standings. I’m really excited to see what teams step up to the plate this year. Our schedule for the upcoming season really caters to us with events on area lakes such as Lake Palestine, Lake ‘O the Pines, and Lake Fork. I really think this upcoming year will be great for our program and hopefully we will be able to reel in a lot of success this year.”
According to Haugh, the meeting for the Bullard Panther Fishing Club will include how the new season currently looks, as well as representation of the program by each participant, financial costs to participate,
“We’re going to start off by talking about the upcoming season and how everything in ran, in terms of conduct and behavior for team members, said Haugh. “Not only are they representing themselves and their families, they’re also representing their school. We will also discuss about the schedule and talk about what they can expect as the season unfolds.”
One of the main points of the meeting will be the financial commitment required by each fisherman, as well as ideas regarding fundraising to help the team financially throughout the season.
“We’ll also hit on the financial costs to be on the team, as well as brainstorm a few fundraising ideas because it is expensive to do some of the things we do,” said Haugh. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of good solid sponsors over the years, and hopefully we’ll be able to continue to capture those sponsorship dollars. There is a financial commitment that each participant will have to make because we don’t buy everyone’s jerseys; our team’s sponsorship dollars help to pay for jerseys for our boat captains.”
Haugh plans to also explain to parents and prospective members about the club’s stance on maintaining strong grades in the classroom, as those who do not achieve in their classes will not be able to compete.
“We are a ‘no pass, no fish,’ organization, so both the parent and the members will have to keep up with their grades,” said Haugh. “There are deadlines that we need to have grades and entry forms turned in, and those deadlines have to be met or they won’t be signed up to fish.”
The history of the Bullard Panther Fishing Club is filled with success, as the team was able to capture the Skeeter Super Six Championships in 2014 and 2015. During the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the Bullard Panther Fishing Club was able to send a combined total of 22 fishermen to the Regional tournament, with a combined 12 members able to advance to the State Championship.
When asked about his hopes for the upcoming season, Haugh passionately hopes for the team to achieve the highest recognition in THSBA.
“I want us to win Team of the Year,” said Haugh. “That’s always our goal every year and I make that very vocal to the team. “If we win Team of the Year, we can send every team within our club to the Regional tournament and have more opportunities for our teams to advance to the State Championship. I want to win it for the kids because they work very hard. Even now before the season begins, I see pictures every day of these kids putting in the hard work by fishing on the lakes. I want them to win it for them because the better they do as a team, the more the team benefits from it.”
According to Haugh, the upcoming season will also feature new changes within the THSBA organization, with the inclusion of two new weigh-in trailers and sponsorships to give future events a more professional feel and atmosphere.
“Our events are going to look as professional as any event out there next season,” said Haugh. “We’ve picked up a few new sponsors, such as Nautical Mile Marine, and we’re in the middle of signing a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Skeeter Boats and Yamaha, as well as other big national names that are reaching out to us for future sponsorship. The look and the way the tournaments are going to be held and ran this year will be something truly special for these kids to be a part of.”
The Bullard Panther Fishing Club season will officially kick-off Saturday, Sept. 23 with a THSBA East Division event on Lake Palestine with weigh-in at Bullard High School.
Other THSBA East Division tournament events that the Bullard Panther Fishing Club will participate in include Lake ‘O the Pines Saturday, Oct. 21 with weigh-in at Sandy beach; Lake Fork Saturday Nov. 18 with weigh-in at the Lake Fork Marina; Lake ‘O The Pines Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 with weigh-in at Sandy Beach; Saturday, March 17, 2018 with weigh-in at Bullard High School; and Regional event on Toledo Bend Saturday, April 14, with weigh-in at Fin & Feather.
The THSBA State Championship tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, 2018, on the waters of Sam Rayburn, with weigh-in at Cassels Boykin County Park.
For more information about the Bullard Panther Fishing Club or the upcoming meeting, contact Haugh at (903) 539-3975.