More than a decade later, Brad Boswell still remembers the one that got away.
Now a senior at Center Grove, Boswell was 6 years old the first time his father took him fishing at an old farm pond.
“I was fighting it — and I actually lost it,” Boswell recalled. “I got so mad, so I wanted to catch another one, and it just started from there.”
It hasn’t stopped since. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Boswell, a starting defensive tackle on the Trojans’ football team, has his own YouTube channel featuring a series of instructional fishing videos — and last year, he decided to set up a club at the high school.
With the help of science teacher Rusty Cullom and classmate Zack Conrad, Boswell started the Center Grove High School Fishing Club. There are about 35 active members as the club begins its second go-round.
“They do it all,” Cullom said of Boswell and Conrad. “Brad’s really organized about everything.
“They’re great kids and they’ve really run with this thing.”
Boswell got the organization started as a way to provide another competitive outlet for students.
“I saw how great high school fishing was becoming, and I saw that you could actually get scholarships now for fishing,” he explained. “So I figured that we need a club here.”
The Center Grove club takes part in four competitions each year across Indiana with the aim of qualifying for the state championships. The Trojans were able to make the cut in their rookie season, with Boswell and Conrad teaming up to finish 12th. A second Center Grove boat tied for 26th.
High school competitions take place on weekends, meaning that football season doesn’t prevent Boswell from taking part. In most cases, teams will fish a lake from about 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with scoring based on the combined weight of the five biggest fish a team catches.
While Boswell enjoys fishing competitively, he says it’s unlikely that he’ll pursue a college scholarship. Most of the schools that offer them for fishing are down south, and Boswell would prefer to stay closer to home for college.
Boswell says he’d like to remain active in competitive fishing as an adult. Most likely, he says, he’ll try to compete on a semipro level on the side of his day job.
For now, though, he’s putting his short-term focus on football, where Indiana Wesleyan is among the programs interested in his services.
Even during the season, though, Center Grove football coach Eric Moore is supportive of Boswell’s side gig.
“Who can’t love a fisherman?” Moore said. “That’s America. There’s nothing that says USA more than fishing.
“It’s sort of neat that a kid that’s such a great defensive lineman and a great student and can pretty much do anything has a hobby — and he’s really good at it, too. I’m proud of him.”
According to its website, the Center Grove High School Fishing Club accepts all high school students from the Greenwood area. Its goal is to “keep the sport of fishing alive while having fun doing it.”