HUNTINGTON — Two Huntington High School students have been recognized at a state level for their accomplishments in bass fishing.
Junior River Johnson and senior Brenton Peters were recognized in the top 49 bass fishermen in the state on the Bassmaster High School All State Fishing Team. They said this is based on their accomplishments over the last several years.
“It’s really hard to achieve that because they don’t look at one tournament where someone could get lucky,” River said. “It’s about consistency in the end. I think this year, all of our finishes except for one were inside the top 10. We didn’t win anything like we did last year, but we were really, really consistent.”
The pair didn’t even realize they had received this honor until a friend they met in Kentucky texted their coach, Brent Johnson.
Both Brenton and River have fished since childhood. Brenton said he and his stepdad spent many years fishing together on the lake. River said he used to fish the pond with his grandfather during the summer.
“Something about catching fish got me excited,” River said. “It’s hard to get that feeling.”
They both joined the fishing teams at Huntington ISD in the seventh grade. Brenton said at the beginning, he didn’t do too well, but he and River got better and better as they continued to fish together.
“When we first started out, we sucked, I’m not gonna lie,” River said. “Don’t get down because you don’t catch them. That’s just how it works. … Stay in it. Hang with it. It’ll start to come natural.”
To get to a comfortable place where you are consistent, you have to practice regularly, they said. They got good at what they know because they got out on the lake all the time and didn’t practice where they knew the fish would be every time.
“If you’re going to do it, get you a partner that can do different stuff than you can,” Brenton said. “Me and him, I like fishing slow, he likes fishing fast. I can fish slow and effectively, and he fishes fast and does it a lot better than I can.”
Brenton said fishing teaches you a lot about patience and about controlling your mind. River said it’s easy to overthink the situation when it really just boils down to the fish and you.
“You’ve got to be really patient and stay positive,” Brenton said. “Sometimes, when we haven’t hit the limit like we usually do by lunch, we’re down in the dumps. Then we catch that first fish and we just start rolling.”
“When you ring the dinner bell, he’s not too picky, in all reality,” River said. “Don’t overthink the small things. Just roll with your gut feeling, and everything’s gonna be alright.”
Brenton and River said they are really appreciative of the effort their family and friends have put in to help them get to where they are, especially their neighbor Robert Berry, who stepped in to be their coach when Brent Johnson was away on work.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without them,” River said.