Two Connecticut high schoolers were named to the B.A.S.S. 2020 Bassmaster All-State Fishing Team.
Forty-nine students were selected from 33 states, with Connecticut’s two representatives being Dylan Napoleone of Beacon Falls and Ryan Corcoran of Cromwell.
Both Napoleone and Corcoran are credited with starting their school’s fishing programs, a sport that is far more popular in southern states.
“When I was a sophomore I was really motivated to start a team,” said Dylan Napoleone, who attends Woodland Regional. “My junior year I presented the idea to the administration and made a whole club/team out of it. We had four kids competing against other Connecticut schools and then we had about 20 others who were in the club who maybe did not want to fish tournaments or weren’t experienced enough.”
Corcoran began the Cromwell program in 2017 and by 2019 he captured the state championship along side his friend and partner, Mason DeCarlo of Rocky Hill.
Napoleone is the newcomer on scene when it comes to National recognition.
“To make it you have to be nominated,” Napoleone said. “With it you have to submit all sorts of information. Then they select the top guys for the All-State team and soon they will pick 12 guys for the All-American team. I got an email and I wasn’t expecting it because I didn’t know when the teams were going to be released. When I got that email it said Congratulations, 2020 Bass Master All-State on the top and I was like wow, this is awesome.”
For Napoleone, the grind of competitive fishing is welcomed.
“Basically we get up at 4-5 in the morning, get in the car and drive to the lake,” Napoleone said. “When you get to the lake, you check in and you get a boat number. Around 7 a.m. the tournaments will start and each boat has two kids from different high schools. Usually tournaments last 7-8 hours. You take your five biggest fish of the day and you weigh them in and whoever has the most pounds of fish wins.”
As a competitor in the northeast region, travel is a large part of the sport outside of the summer months.
“I fished in a National Championship event in October of 2019,” Napoleone said. “I flew down to Idaho and one kid from each state was there and I fished with kids from all over the country. I won a scholarship out there to Bethel University, so I am probably going to take it. They are the Number One Bass team in the Nation too, so can’t pass that up.”
Napoleone has received offers from a handful of schools, most of which are located down south.
“I definitely want to continue my career in college,” Napoleone said. “I am going to sign a contract with a school in the next couple of weeks. Though I have not officially decided on the school yet, I have a few choices I am high on.”
Similarly to all CIAC spring sports, the fishing season was cut short for Napoleone, as Connecticut Bass Nation canceled upcoming tournaments.
“I was actually supposed to be fishing in a tournament against a bunch of high school kids,” Napoleone said. “Obviously that isn’t going to happen. I know it is not a CIAC sport in Connecticut, but the same precautions are being taken, we are not having any tournaments or anything. I can only really fish for leisure currently.”
In the meantime, Napoleone will fish for leisure while he awaits the announcement of the All-American team and decides where he will continue both his academic and athletic careers.