By Shawn Stinson
Two students at Pendleton County High School recently competed in the BASS Nation of West Virginia high school state tournament.
Cousins Brayden and Cameron Beachler finished seventh out of 43 teams at the event on June 5 on the Ohio River in Ravenswood. The team of Wesley Allen and Riley Hendricks from Hurricane captured the title.
The state tournament wrapped up the 2021-22 season. The 2022-23 season will begin July 10 on the Monongalia River at Palatine Park in Fairmont.
The Beachlers were visiting Lewis County and fishing the nearby lakes when they spoke with another fisherman who informed them of the high school BASS tournaments. The pair discussed that fishing was not any different from the other sports they play at PCHS. It takes practice and discipline. In addition, several colleges have fishing teams. The pair gathered the needed information about joining the BASS organization and representing PCHS. They needed to create an active BASS club at the school.
They approached Joe Vincell, an English teacher at the school, and he volunteered to serve as the club’s advisor. The next step was to present the idea to the school’s administration for approval. The group’s request to be formally approved was forwarded to the club committee. The members of the committee approved the group’s request and the club was officially created as PCHS Bass Masters.
The Beachlers entered their initial tournament on April 24 at Stonewall Jackson Lake in Lewis County. The duo finished ninth out of 47 teams. The event was the third tournament of the season that had started in the summer of 2021.
At the final event before the state tournament, the pair were unable to match their previous success and finished in 22nd place out of 40 teams. The event was held on May 22 at Burnsville Lake in Braxton County.
According to BASS Nation of West Virginia rules, the bass in a lake must be at least 10 inches in length to qualify for the count. During an event on the Ohio River, a catch must be at least 12 inches in length. Each team can keep and bring five total fish to the official weigh-in. The winners of the tournament are determined by the heaviest caught fish.
In addition to the individual tournaments crowning team champions, teams compete for a season-points title. The top team advances to the national tournament as West Virginia’s representatives. The victors of the state tournament also secure a spot in the national tournament.
Brayden Beachler is a rising senior at PCHS and plans to attend college following graduation and hopes to continue to fish at the collegiate level. He plans to study fishery and wildlife management. Brayden Beachler is also a member of the school’s baseball, basketball and golf teams. His future goals include working with the West Virginia hatcheries and fishing professionally. He is the son of Billy and Marlena Beachler of Franklin.
A rising junior, Cameron Beachler is a member of the school’s baseball and golf squads. He is also a member of the National Honor Society. Cameron Beachler plans to attend college and major in Marine biology. He hopes to compete on the college’s fishing team and, like Brayden, he wants to become a professional fisherman. He is the son of Allen and Holly Beachler of Franklin.