Local anglers reap big catches at national bass fishing tournaments

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Bass fishing has been special to De Soto senior Connor Nimrod since he discovered the hobby as a toddler, but this past year has been even more memorable for him thanks to his new teammate.

After several castings in the direction of his younger brother over the years, Connor was finally able to convince Dylan Nimrod to snack and join the De Soto Bass team, which is coached by their father, Steve Nimrod.

Despite only having a year of experience under his belt, Dylan teamed up with Connor to take 60th place out of 225 boats at the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship, which was held from 22 to June 24 at Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tenn.

” It went well. We were sitting in a better position after day one,” Connor said. “We were hoping to capitalize and take the top 10, but it doesn’t always work out that way. We fished the hardest on the second day, but it was still a really fun experience to have.

Connor’s love of fishing was born when he was 2 or 3 years old between his time at Lake of the Ozarks and his grandparents’ marina dock. The De Soto eldest took the opportunity to share his favorite pastime with his brother.

“It was really great to see him grow and progress in what he knows and to be able to teach him a lot of things, but it’s even more special to be the only team in Kansas, that I know, it’s a brotherly team – especially who qualified for the national championship,” Connor said.

While the national tournament was Dylan’s first, Connor had previously competed there with fellow De Soto senior Trevor Watts. Dylan thanked Connor for helping him prepare for the biggest tournament of his young career.

“He taught me so much. Being just a brother like that, I couldn’t ask for someone better to be able to teach me stuff like that,” Dylan said. “In the boat, I know what he needs when he needs it. It’s really easy to find your way around. »

Time for Dylan and Connor to train throughout the spring was limited, but they had plenty of motivation to prepare for the national tournament after placing sixth out of 180 boats at the Central Open on March 11 in Toledo Bend. Reservoir in Many, La. Dylan and Connor are both spring sports athletes for De Soto. Dylan plays for the De Soto baseball team, while Connor is a pole vaulter for the DHS track team.

“It gets really crazy, especially because we have two to three track meets a week and on top of that I try to get out on the water once or twice a week,” said Connor, who was a state qualifier in the pole vault, says. “I also have to balance all my sponsors, my media posts, reach out to them and figure out what I need to do to help the businesses.”

The Nimrod brothers will be fishing partners for one more year before Connor leaves for college. The De Soto eldest is currently considering going to Louisiana-Monroe and joining the fishing team there.

“Louisiana-Monroe is more like my ideal school. It’s a small school,” Connor said. “It only has about 8,000 to 9,000 students, and I didn’t want something really big like K-State or KU go there They have always had a very good bass fishing team and they take great care of their anglers.

While the thought of fishing at the collegiate level excites Connor, he wants to cherish his final year of training by his father and competing with his brother, Watts and De Soto Bass teammates Brayden Brummer, Kolby Minor, Gage Hiebert and Grant. and Cole Moberly. Brummer and Minor both go to De Soto High, while the Moberlys and Hieberts attend Mill Valley and Olathe North respectively.

The competitiveness of the sport is what drove Connor to the level he is at today.

“From the first bass I remember catching I was always addicted to how hard they fought and how hard it is to get out and find the fish themselves, to be able to put those fish in the boat and weigh them. at the end of the day,” Connor said. “You pride yourself on being the one who came out and finding them and knowing how to catch them better than anyone.”

Another Kansas tandem, Shawnee Mission Northwest alumnus Zach Vielhauer and Yates Center native Remington Wagner, who are teammates with the Kick Back High School Fishing Club, finished just two spots ahead of the Nimrods at the national tournament.

Vielhauer, who has been fishing with Kick Back since he was 10, is good friends with the Nimrods and several other anglers on the Kansas high school scene. The SM Northwest alum will be staying a little closer to home as he travels to Kansas State this fall to study mechanical engineering and participate in the fishing team.

“I’m excited. It’s not even funny,” Vielhauer said. “K-State has a really good reputation. going back to the national championship and seeing if we can win one.

After Vielhauer and Wagner’s strong showing at the national championship, they teamed up for one last high school tournament when they made it to the Bass Federation World Finals on June 30 at Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala. Vielhauer and Wagner were somewhat discouraged at having failed to advance. on the final day of the three-seater tournament, but they felt their 33rd place put on a nice touch at the end of the summer.

“It was our last high school tournament where we would fish together,” Vielhauer said. “It’s a bit bittersweet because we’re going to move on, but it kind of closes a chapter and opens the door to the next. We’re playing adult tournaments together now.

Even though Vielhauer is open to heading to K-State to continue his fishing career, it’s not out of the question that he and a few of his future teammates will come to a Kick Back club meeting. Some of the most exciting non-tournament experiences for Mill Creek sixth-grader Parker Phillips got a few tips from pro angler Brent Chapman and members of the K-State fishing team.

Phillips credited the advice he learned from Chapman and K-State anglers, as well as what he picked up from YouTube videos, to helping him tremendously as he continues to love the sport.

“My grandfather used to take me fishing a lot, and then I watched YouTube videos of people fishing and practically learned how to fish on YouTube,” Phillips said. “I was watching people and they were always catching big fish. They tell you how they caught the big fish and what lure they caught it on. I watched it all winter and then I fished a lot that summer.

Phillips started fishing non-competitively when he was 6 or 7 years old before joining Kick Back at the end of the 2016 season. It didn’t take long for him and his partner, Max Douglas, a native of Paola, to find success. Phillips and Douglas won the Kansas BASS Nation Youth State Championship on May 7 at Big Hill Lake in Cherryvale after catching 12 pounds, 3 ounces of fish.

“It was really good,” Phillips said. “We were celebrating after winning. We caught our last fish 30 minutes before we had to weigh in and we were all celebrating.

Although Phillips and Douglas earned an automatic spot for the Junior BASS National Championship, they were unable to attend because their boat guide was unavailable. Phillips didn’t let the disappointment of missing out on nationals overshadow what he and Douglas accomplished in their final tournament of the season.

“I was really happy when we won,” Phillips said. “I was freaked out when we won because it was my first victory in a state tournament.”

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