Friends since the ninth grade, Sam Gaede and Nash Madden share a common interest.
They love outdoor sports.
"We fish and hunt together," Gaede said. "It's relaxing. It's fun. Anybody can do it. It doesn't matter how young or old you are."
Gaede and Madden co-founded the Central Valley High School Bass Fishing Club during the 2012-13 school year. Membership has grown from six to 40-plus anglers.
"We got our foot in the door last year," Gaede said. "No one believed us at first. We were supposed to compete in a tournament in May. We didn't have the resources and there were too many complications."
Central Valley registered its club through The Bass Federation/Student Angler Federation at highschoolfishing.org.
Insurance forms and permission slips were submitted
Other hurdles were cleared as well.
Membership dues are $25 per student.
"I'm kind of surprised everything worked out," Gaede said. "I thought it would take a couple more years. We started it for the whole Central Valley. I don't know of any schools in the area that have a club like this. I'd definitely like to see it catch on."
"Whenever I heard about it, I doubted the possibility of it working out," club member Anthony Bonales said. "It's pretty cool."
Seniors Gaede, Madden and Bonales, and junior Ben Ortiz represented Central Valley while competing at the Roosevelt High School Open at Pine Flat Lake near Fresno on Saturday.
Gaede and Ortiz, and Madden and Bonales partnered up.
Central Valley placed seventh in a field of 18.
"We were really excited to finally get out there," Bonales said. "It was a fun first event."
Gaede (president), Madden (vice president) and Ortiz (treasurer) fill leadership positions with the club, which meets every other Wednesday in Club Advisor Mike Reynolds' classroom.
"High school fishing is so established in the East and Midwest," said Reynolds, a support teacher at Central Valley. "We're jumping on board. A new door is going to open. We want to get more kids fishing. It's addicting. It's fun. You can earn scholarships."
"We want to expose as many people to something they've never done before," Gaede stated.
"It's fun to see a person catch their first fish," Bonales added.
Central Valley's Bass Fishing Club has several sponsors, including Eagle Claw, Mercer Foods and Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods.
Eagle Claw pays for jerseys and hooks.
Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods is owned by Reynolds' father Bill.
"The ultimate goal is to have enough sponsors to pay for everything," Gaede said. "People have been generous to us. If it wasn't for him (Mike Reynolds), we wouldn't have been able to get the club going."
The 2012 SAF California High School State Championship Bass Fishing Tournament was staged, March 31-April 1, on the California Delta.
Thirteen teams from 10 different schools competed.
Woodcreek High School's Tyler Bounds and Andrew Loberg placed first in the final standings as they bagged 20 pounds, five ounces.
"It's a different way to be involved in the school that's not the norm," Reynolds said. "We have no problem taking the lead. My long-term vision is to have it as a sport. Some of the best fisheries are right here in California."
Added Bonales: "I guarantee you it will be a topic discussed. I see it as a domino effect. Within the next four to five years, more fishing clubs will pop up at other schools. We're leaving a legacy behind because we started it originally. That's the cool thing."
Said Gaede: "I have a lot of friends at Ceres High. They enjoy fishing. They'd benefit from having a club at their school."
To donate fishing gear to Central Valley's Club, contact Reynolds at 985-4729.