KIMBALL, Tenn. — Kimball is set to host two high school fishing tournaments this fall, but city leaders said they'd like to see some local talent in those competitions in the future.
The Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously on Thursday to spend $3,000 to host the Bass Federation's regional high school tournament Sept. 28.
The city is hosting the TBF's state high school championship Sept. 26 and 27, too.
The regional tournament will include 45 teams from seven Southeastern states.
"That will be three people in the boat, including two fishermen and one adult to drive the boat," Mayor David Jackson said. "So, you're looking at about 135 people right there [coming to Kimball]."
Bass Federation officials estimate five to six other people, such as family members, attend the event for each team, which would mean approximately 250 additional people coming to Kimball just for the regional tournament.
Alderman Jerry Don Case said he sees "a lot of good" in hosting the fishing events.
"You're going to bring the kids in, and you're going to bring in the revenue," he said. "You're going to help the businesses, and you're going to help the town. If we break even, we still help our businesses, so all I see is good."
Kimball has hosted the high school state tournament for the last two years, and even though Grundy and Sequatchie counties each had teams in the competitions, there is no team in Marion County.
That's something Alderman Johnny Sisk said he'd like to see changed.
Sisk said he has spoken with some school board members recently about organizing a high school bass fishing team in the county.
"I think if all three high schools come together, we could get a team," he said. "It would get some of these kids off the street."
In fact, South Pittsburg, Marion County, and Whitwell high schools have collaborated in the past to field soccer and track teams.
"There are a bunch of kids who are [in the local school system] and can fish," Sisk said. "They just need a coach to go with them. Surely there's someone who's a big fisherman and would be willing to work with kids."
Jackson said bass fishing is becoming more and more popular and many colleges are taking notice.
The University of Georgia's bass fishing team has been spotted practicing in the area in the past year, he said, and UTC has a team that sometimes practices in the county.
"There's not many days that you can't go down to Mud Creek and not catch a college team down there practice-fishing," Jackson said. "Not all kids were made out to play [traditional] sports. Some are fishermen and hunters. I wish the Marion County school system had [a team]."
Sisk said he plans to speak with school officials again to get their input about forming a local high school team and "see if we can get something going."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis firstname.lastname@example.org.