Those finding solace and a degree of satisfaction in attempting to outsmart a quarry likely has a fish story to tell.
Drew Glentzer, who has been baiting hooks for 35 years, has his share.
Foremost is the day the Edinburgh Community High School boys basketball coach pulled a 10-pound, 2-ounce bass out of Lake Patoka, a popular camping and fishing destination 18 miles southeast of Jasper.
This is a section of the state’s southern reaches Glentzer knows well. Huntingburg. Tell City. Santa Claus. And the mostly rural acreage in between.
Glentzer has fished competitively in the Hoosier Open Weekend series since 2006. This weekend he’s in his 20-foot, Z20 Comanche Ranger Bass Boat atop the waters of the Ohio River, patiently attempting to improve his place in the overall standings.
THE GLENTZER FILE
Name: Drew Glentzer
Job: Teacher, boys basketball coach at Edinburgh Community High School
Family: Parents, Bill and Donna; sister, Abbie
High school: Indian Creek (1990)
College: Indiana State University (1996)
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite TV show: “Swamp People”
Favorite movie: “Hoosiers”
“I’ve been fishing since I was 6,” said Glentzer, 42. “We had a family cabin at Lake Pleasant in Angola, and we have a new family cabin at Lake Patoka. I started out fishing for whatever would bite a worm on a hook. Catfish, bluegill, bass, crappie.
“I almost think it’s something that’s in my blood. I can remember as a kid going to the dock at 8 in the morning and my parents having to come get me for dinner. I think it’s a game. You’re trying to outsmart or outwit the fish.”
Competitive fishing comes with its own set of rules. Some of the fine print at the Hoosier Open level reads as follows:
Cheating will not be tolerated.
Anglers may not fish alone.
Boats must be at least 14 feet in length.
Trolling as a method of catching fish is prohibited.
Only artificial lures may be used.
Competitors must use only permitted fishing locations.
Scoring is based on the combined weight of largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass caught.
“Each tournament is a six-fish limit. You get your biggest six, weigh them, and it’s whoever has the most,” explained Glentzer, who usually partners with his Trafalgar neighbor, Jim Arvin, 62, during competitions. “Tournaments are nine hours long, usually sunup to sunset.”
The Hoosier Open season typically runs from mid-March to September, the ideal opening for someone whose autumns and winters are filled by sounds of bouncing basketballs and practice whistles.
Only once in seven years has Glentzer been forced to sit out a competition: March 17, 2012. He was inside a thunder-loud Southport Fieldhouse coaching the Lancers against Loogootee in a Class A semistate (Arvin, for his part, teamed with his son, Chad, that day).
Coaching basketball and fishing for points wouldn’t seem to have much in common. One competition takes place in front of thousands of cheering fans, a pep band and the like; the other plays out in almost eerily quiet surroundings.
The connecting point, said Glentzer, is strategy. Due to their evasive nature, bass can be more challenging to reel in than other types of fish. Add to it the degree of difficulty being increased based on Hoosier Open rules requiring anglers to use only artificial lures.
“The hardest part is the mental side of it. Here, it’s humbling,” Glentzer said. “There are days you fish as hard as anything, and there are days it’s easier. Some days you’re like, ‘Do I know what I’m doing?’ We come up with a game plan, and you have to be able to adapt. In Indiana, with our weather conditions, our lakes and rivers are never at the same height.”
Edinburgh’s boys basketball program is 56-16 (.778) since Glentzer’s arrival before the 2010-11 season. The man clearly knows how to diagram a successful game plan.
Arvin struggles when asked if his friend and fishing teammate is a better coach than fisherman. Or could it possibly be the other way around?
“I would say (fisherman) is a good possibility because Drew has some good instincts. He has a knack of quickly deciphering what the fish are doing on a certain day and reacting to that,” Arvin said. “You get guys who are fishermen who are combining these talents. When we fish Patoka, the guys from Jasper are all very tough to beat because they fish that lake all the time.”
Glentzer has entertained the idea of someday trying to fish competitively on a larger scale. Such events would draw the best competition possible, with another incentive being larger sums of prize money.
“That’s something I’ve talked about. I do have aspirations of doing that someday,” he said. “Basketball has most of my time now. But when we lose our last game, I get the boat out. It’s all about game-planning.”