Josh Rouse: Buhler's Fideldy, Gover earn C-J's top high school fishing honor for 2020-21

Josh Rouse
Topeka Capital-Journal
From left, Buhler's Preston Gover and Nathan Fideldy hold up their first-place trophies following the Kansas BASS Nation High School season finale in April on Wilson Reservoir. Gover and Fideldy have been picked as this year's top high school angler team in Kansas by The Topeka Capital-Journal.

The best of the best have been picked!

After winning the Kansas BASS Nation High School Angler Team of the Year Award for the second straight year, Buhler’s Nathan Fideldy and Preston Gover have one more accolade to add to their competitive fishing resumes — earning The Topeka Capital-Journal’s second annual Kansas High School Angler Team of the Year Award.

“Winning team of the year feels amazing,” said Fideldy, a senior who plans to fish collegiately at Drury next season. “It shows that all of the hard work this season has paid off. From fishing in all sorts of weather, from 28 mph wind to rain and snow. Countless hours of work have been put into achieving this, from practicing weeks in advance for tournaments to getting the boat and tackle ready before going to the lake. 

“Most importantly, this wouldn't be possible without the help from my parents and (KBN youth director) Travis Burch running the tournaments.”

Gover, also a senior, plans to attend Hutchinson Community College for one year after graduating from Buhler, then transfer to Fort Hays State to pursue his goal of becoming an aerial applicator, otherwise known as a crop duster.

“This season was a lot of fun — all the work and hours in the water we put in the last four years really started to pay off,” Gover said. “We pre-fished a lot and did our homework, and it payed off. We were in the top 10 every tournament we fished this year, even winning our last regular-season qualifier at Wilson by 3 pounds. That day was a blast. We have state and nationals coming up this summer and hope to do good at both.”

In addition to their first career victory April 10 on Wilson, Fideldy and Gover also finished third at both the SAF/TBF state championship in April and second KBN qualifier in October 2020, both on Melvern Reservoir. 

Their consistency and growth throughout the season make them well-deserving off the top prize.

But the race for the top prize was tight again this year, with last week’s Topeka Capital-Journal all-state team revealing just how deep Kansas’ high school fishing talent runs.

Among those eyeing the prize this season were last year’s award winners, Legacy Christian’s Ryder Mains and Mason Chapman. The pair took home the SAF/TBF state title in April and also posted a second-place finish at the KBN season opener in September on Perry Reservoir, putting them neck and neck with the Buhler anglers.

Kickback Club’s Jackson Opheim also garnered strong consideration, placing fourth in the fourth KBN qualifier April 10 on Wilson Reservoir with teammate Luke Crane and then earning runner-up with a different teammate April 25 at the SAF/TBF state championship.

These five anglers were set to join the rest of the state qualifiers in action this weekend during the KBN high school and youth state championships June 5-6 on Milford Reservoir.