NHS senior qualifies for national fishing tournament

by Nicole Rosselot

Nordonia High School senior Tyler Lewis learned to fish with his father and grandfather at Berlin Lake when he was just a little boy. By the time he was a teenager, it became clear that Lewis had a natural talent for reeling in championship fish.

“As I got older, I started catching bigger fish and now I’m just hooked, pun intended,” Lewis said.

In September, Lewis and his tournament fishing partner Brody Thompson, a senior at Beaver Local High School and Rogers, Ohio, native, qualified to compete in the Major League Fishing High School National Championship in June 2023 on the Mississippi River in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The high school anglers earned this opportunity by placing second overall in the MLF High School Open at Lake Erie.

“The high school state qualifier was out of Sandusky Bay and [MLF] sends the top 10% from each state to nationals,” Lewis said.

Lewis explained that while he and Thompson placed second overall in the state qualifier, they are the top team in Ohio because the first place team was from Illinois. Lewis and Thompson caught a total of five bass with a combined weight of 15 pounds, 4 ounces.

“We knew going into the tournament the weight that we wanted to have and we were right there,” Lewis recalled. “As people started bringing in their fish, we saw we had one of the top bags and it finally hit us that we were the top team in Ohio, and it was amazing.”

This is the first time Lewis and Thompson have qualified for the national tournament. They will be competing for cash prizes and scholarship offers. Prior to qualifying for the 2023 national tournament, Lewis and Thompson fished together at the MLF High School Fishing World Finals in Florence, Alabama, in June. The 2022 World Finals was open to any high school fishing team that competed in a state qualifier from the previous MLF high school fishing season.

One of Lewis’ fondest fishing memories took place at the World Finals. “It was day two of the tournament and I caught my personal best bass and it was cool because it was the biggest bass caught that day,” he said. “I got to walk up on stage and hold it up in front of everyone, and with my dad being on the boat it was probably the most special moment.”

Lewis’ father serves as his team’s boat captain, as the MLF requires all high school teams to have a captain on board during tournaments.

In addition to fishing in the MLF high school tournaments, Lewis competes locally with his older brother, Justin. The siblings fish in a weekly tournament series on Berlin Lake throughout the spring, summer and fall.

“We won a couple times in the summer, but for some reason on that lake, once the water cools down [in the fall], the fishing gets a little tougher,” he said. Looking ahead, Lewis and his brother both plan to attend The Landing School of Boat Building and Design in Arundel, Maine, next fall.

Lewis (r) and his tournament fishing
partner Brody Thompson at the Major
League Fishing High School Open at Lake
Erie in September.
Tyler Lewis shows off his personal best bass,
and the biggest fish of the day, on day two
of the Major League Fishing High School
World Finals in June. Photos submitted.