Call me JTownBassMan


Ranked 17th in the Illinois Junior Angler Division, Surges is a passionate angler and is always looking to improve his skills while keeping his love for the sport alive.

Natalie Mander, Sports Editor

When most people are asked to identify high school sports, bass fishing is not at the top of the list, or in most cases even on it. However, bass fishing has increased its’ popularity in the young adults demographic. Since its recognition as a high school sport by the Illinois High School Association in 2008, schools are rapidly recruiting anglers, or fishermen, to join the bass fishing team. Joliet West student Matthew Surges is one of the many young anglers in Illinois who has dedicated their time to the sport.

Surges began fishing at the age of 13 in local ponds. “I felt a rush of adrenaline when I caught my first fish. It was the feeling of knowing that I had achieved something completely on my own,” said Surges.

Since that day, Surges has taken his love for the hobby to improve his skills, participating in tournaments throughout Illinois. In 2012 he joined the Off the Hook Junior Bass Masters fishing club, which is an extension of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. Surges is ranked 17th in the Illinois Junior Angler Division. Since becoming a member, Surges has had a positive experience. “I have gained patience and respect for the people who fish professionally,” Surges commented.

Surges has gained so much knowledge for bass fishing that he started a YouTube channel that is dedicated to teaching the young and the old different ways to catch bass. Since April of 2012, he has published over 200 instructional videos and has accumulated over 1400 subscribers from across the country. “With my YouTube channel I was able to collect over 350 dollars’ worth of tackle to Woodrow Wilson Junior High in Clifton, New Jersey. I had the great opportunity of helping under privileged kids share in my experience of catching big bass,” Surges said.

Surges plans to finish his senior year with the Joliet West Bass Fishing team, in hopes of placing high at the sectional competition in May. “I would like to place top ten in state as well as top ten in my club. This is my last season for all my tourneys and my clubs. Next year I also hope to be in the adult Maplewood Bass Masters of Illinois.”

Although his high school season may be over in the coming months, Surges doesn’t lose his love for the sport and encourages young anglers to follow in his footsteps. “Fishing is a sport that can be done by any person. It takes determination, will power, patience, and confidence in yourself to catch a fish,” he says, “You don’t need expensive tackle or fancy boats to be a good angler… You just need knowledge and a love for the sport.”