I-S senior helped start fishing team
By Holly Neumann
Iola-Scandinavia High School senior Steve Niemi has been selected as one of 64 Bassmaster High School All-State anglers for 2016.
He is one of two Wisconsin anglers to receive the award, along with Bailey Bleser of Burlington.
“It means a lot,” he said. “There is a lot that goes into receiving this award: giving back to the community, keeping my grades up, working with young anglers and, of course, fishing well throughout my high school career.”
Niemi, along with his parents Steven and April, played a big part in getting the Iola-Scandinavia School District’s fishing team off the ground.
“It has given me many opportunities and it’s cool to know that we started this program,” he said. “Hopefully, it will continue for years to come for others to enjoy.”
Niemi credited his dad for getting him started.
“When I was real young, I would go out fishing with my dad and he would catch fish and let me reel them in,” he said. “Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He is always willing to help and support me in any way he can. He has taught me so much about bass fishing.”
“The All-State program not only measures an angler’s fishing accomplishments, but also his or her success in studies and extracurricular activities,” said Hank Weldon, senior manager of the B.A.S.S. High School program. “The students selected are very accomplished on and off the water. They are all very deserving of this award and we’re proud to have them represent this year’s All-State teams.”
Niemi offered some advice to young anglers.
“When it comes to tournament fishing, one of the most important things is to do is stay confident,” he said. “It is extremely hard to consistently fish well throughout a season. If you have a bad tournament or a bad day, just forget about it and concentrate on the next one.”
Every day is a different day when it comes to fishing, according to Niemi.
“If you are fishing a body of water, especially in a tournament, fish the moment,” he said. “Many people fish history and get in trouble. You may have caught fish in that spot last year or maybe two weeks ago, but nothing is guaranteed on the water and your fish could have moved to another location.”
Niemi enjoys the camaraderie of fishing tournaments, but said there is nothing better than winning.
“When you work so hard for something and everything comes together – it actually does happen – there isn’t a better feeling,” he said. “It takes a ton of time and experience on and off the water to get to a level where you can compete and win.”
Niemi thanked his sponsors – Walleyes for Kids, Shimano, Jackall lures, G. Loomis and Power Pro – for helping him along the way.
He plans on attending the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the fall to major in business law or sales and marketing.
“I will also hopefully be fishing on their collegiate bass fishing team,” he said.