Schools Rule: Jackson student named ‘Angler of the Year’

Schools Rule: Jackson student named ‘Angler of the Year’
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 5:08 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2022 at 5:49 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - There’s one winter sport you won’t see at the Olympic Games, even though it’s huge in Michigan -- Ice fishing.

One Jackson father had gotten his son hooked on the sport, and they’ve both seen success as a result.

”Probably throughout the last three or four years, he had gotten bigger so he was able to do everything himself and I didn’t have to tie his poles,” recalled Chad Hamlin.

Hamlin has been fishing for the last 40 years, but it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that his son, Rylan, started tagging along.

The 2022 Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament was Sunday at Wamplers Lake. Hamlin and his son quickly became the team to beat.

“We spent all last week looking and not even fishing just trying to find spots to go to,” Hamlin said. “So, it’s just a lot of work.”

The two caught 16 fish in the first hour.

“We started out in the morning, we actually caught our fish pretty quick,” Hamlin said. “Throughout the day we knew bad, or we had good fish. "

When it was time for weigh-ins, Rylan said he had no idea they would come out on top. They caught 10.61 pounds of fish, putting them in first place over 150 two-person teams.

“We didn’t actually think we were going to win,” Rylan said. “We knew we were going to be good. We thought maybe top five, but we didn’t know we were going to win.”

But, don’t be fooled. It’s not the first time Rylan had made a name for himself. Rylan and Jack Swihart were named Anglers of the year by the Michigan Youth Bass Fishing Association.

Rylan said he’s not stopping there.

“Hopefully I become a professional bass fisherman on one of the pro leagues,” Rylan said.

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