Prep beat

JIM PETERS: Wrestlers eyeing the big catch at state high school fishing tournament

2014-06-19T17:00:00Z 2014-06-19T22:10:09Z JIM PETERS: Wrestlers eyeing the big catch at state high school fishing tournamentJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
June 19, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

Wrestling and fishing. Six minutes on a mat or six hours in a boat.

The two sports might seem to have nothing in common, but Daylan Schurg and Ian Dembowski, two local boys familiar with both, would tell you otherwise.

"You've got to pay attention to little techniques, and keep practicing it, either to catch a fish or get a takedown," said Dembowski, an incoming freshman at Valparaiso who has grappled and angled for about 10 years. "You have to have a mindset out on the water, waiting for that big bite to come."

Dembowski loves the adrenaline rush of a big catch, equating it to a pin, minus the big emotional reaction. Schurg can relate. He was a regional champion last season as a sophomore.

"I would say there are some similarities mentally," Schurg said. "Being patient. If you're in a tough match and you can't get what you want to work, you've got to keep going with what you know. Your opponent in fishing might even be yourself, knowing what to cast, where to put it."

Sunday at Lake Shafer in Monticello, the duo will team up in the Indiana State High School Fishing Championship, sponsored by The Bass Federation and Fishing League Worldwide.

Bet you didn't even know there was such a thing. I sure didn't until the email popped in last week.

"It's one of those things a lot of people don’t know about it," said Derek Dembowski, Ian's dad. "Some people are better at different things than others are. In college, bass fishing is huge now. We're just trying to get it promoted, use this as a way for people to find out."

Because they aren't represented by a high school, the boys are competing for the Region Wrestling Academy, where they both train, under the title, RWA Bass Rasslin'.

The event is open to students entering grades 9-12. That's the only requirement, other than a boat. Some contests don't even require that.

"Anybody can go this weekend and fish," Derek Dembowski said.

Ian has fished with his dad for as long as he can remember. He started competing a few years ago. Angling runs deep in the Schurg family, too, where the five boys and their dad Bob, who fishes in the same league as Derek, have been casting a line since Daylan was a baby. Daylan's brother, Dallas, recently graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, where he qualified for nationals as part of the school's fishing club.

"We've always gone on fishing trip vacations," said Daylan, who began doing tournaments this year. "I would say probably all four of my brothers would go out all day and fish on a boat. It's pretty competitive between us. We'd go up to Michigan with my grandma and have tournaments amongst ourselves for four, five hours. I just really enjoy being out on the water. Time passes by quick."

Both boys are hopeful of finishing in the top 10 percent, which would qualify them for a conference championship, a precursor to nationals. The combined weight of a team's top five catches determines their score. The dads both have contacts in the professional fishing ranks to help gather some insight on Lake Shafer.

"I would say the goal is obviously to win the tournament, just keep getting better and learning more and more about the lakes," Schurg said.

Now that I think of it, there is one big difference between fishing and wrestling. You can fish all your life. Wrestling? Not so much.

"It's really fun," Dembowski said. "It takes your mind off of things."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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