BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Instead of sitting in class and dozing off, students at North High School are grabbing their rods and throwing their lines in.
Junior Weslee Mckenzie had the idea to begin a fishing club, and it didn't take long for the club to gain popularity.
"Everyone talks about it, everyone thinks it's cool and they want to join, and I tell them just go to Ms. Wheat’s class and join," he said.
Christy Wheat, one of the club's advisers, said it took some convincing for her to help start the club but is happy she came around to the idea.
“There’s a need in the schools to have something like this," she said. "We connect with kids who really don’t get involved in schools, this is a way to get them connected to school and get them excited about something.”
The club isn't just made up of your typical high school boys, either. It has more than 40 members with a portion of them being girls.
"We are the sparkling fishing women," Zoe Davis - Jessee proclaimed as she sat next to her best friend Taylor Forthman.
The sophomores grew up fishing with their fathers and were excited to learn they could be involved in the hobby they liked at school as well.
“It’s honestly kind of surprising because there’s a lot of people in fishing club who you wouldn’t think would do it," Forthman said.
"There are a lot of beginner fishers and some don’t even have gear and they’re still learning and we get to experience that with them," Davis - Jessee said.
The club has some class meetings where they discuss fishing ethics, conservation and the basics of the sport. The most enjoyable time is on their weekend meets when they head to a lake and let loose for a few hours.
“I got into fishing when I was younger and I really wanted to get other people into fishing," Mckenzie said. "You see football and soccer, that’s all original, but a new thing is fishing, that would be really cool.”
At least three other schools in Kern County have created their own clubs with interest from several others. Wheat says the goal is to have district-wide outings and eventually turn this into a varsity sport.
North's club is currently looking for fishing donations to help them with that goal. If you'd like to donate gently used fishing gear, you can contact email@example.com or drop it off at the school located at 300 Galaxy Ave.