Locals Sobczyk and McEver team for fishing state championship

Eatonville's Jaiden Sobczyk and Mt. Tahoma's Will McEver show off a couple of their winning catches.

Eatonville's Jaiden Sobczyk and Mt. Tahoma's Will McEver show off a couple of their winning catches.
Provided to The Dispatch

In an impressive display of angling prowess, two local high school students have reeled in the prestigious title of Washington High School State Bass Fishing champions. Jaiden Sobczyk and Will McEver emerged victorious at the state championship held at Banks Lake on Sept. 23, making a splash in the world of competitive bass fishing.

The tournament, which kicked off at the crack of dawn at 6:30 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m., saw a total of nine teams from across the state vying for supremacy on the serene waters of Banks Lake. The winning duo of Sobczyk and McEver, fishing together representing the Eatonville program, astounded onlookers by hauling in an impressive total weight of 12.50 pounds, courtesy of five smallmouth bass.

A standout moment during the competition was when McEver hooked the largest fish of the tournament, a whopping 3.12-pound bass. To top it off, both Sobczyk and McEver were honored as State Anglers of the Year.

This remarkable achievement carries even greater significance as Jaiden Sobczyk was instrumental in launching the Eatonville High School fishing program back in March. Since its inception, the program has grown to include five teams, each comprised of talented young anglers ready to cast their lines into the world of competitive fishing.

Eatonville's bass fishing teams made an impressive showing at the state championship, with Caden Colberg and Jax Wasankari securing a fourth-place finish with 9.49 pounds. Tyler Kenney and Cole Chadwick took home sixth-place with 8.97 pounds. Michael Laird and Cole Bamford claimed the eighth position with 5.49 pounds, further underscoring the depth of talent in Eatonville's fishing ranks. William Mykland and Jason Naro, though entered to compete, could not attend due to prior commitments. These young anglers hail from various schools in the region, with Will attending Mount Tahoma and Jax attending Yelm Middle School, while the rest proudly represent Eatonville High School but all compete for the Eatonville program.

One unique aspect of high school bass fishing is the teamwork involved. Each boat is manned by two anglers and a boat captain, totaling three individuals on board. The anglers collaborate to catch the five largest fish within the specified time frame. These captured fish are housed in a live well in the boat, allowing the anglers to continually swap out smaller catches for larger ones as they make their catches throughout the competition.

This monumental victory has paved the way for Sobczyk and McEver to set their sights on a larger stage. Thanks to their win, the duo is slated to compete at the national tournament, which will take place at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina from June 19-22. It's an opportunity that promises to challenge their skills and further propel them into the world of competitive fishing.

"Fishing is more than just a hobby to me, it’s my sport. Not many people know of the opportunities there are nowadays in the competitive scene of fishing. There is $3.3 million given out a year in scholarships for us young anglers. Having the opportunity to get a full-ride scholarship and fish at the college level has been a dream of mine for many years,” said Jaiden Sobczyk.

As these talented young anglers gear up for the National tournament, they are also planning fundraising initiatives to cover the associated costs.


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