Buffalo Grove fisher plays the angles, wins national recognition
Tyler Lubbat has learned to go with the flow when he goes fishing.
“If you have a closed mindset, you won't catch them," the Buffalo Grove High School junior told the Lake County Gazette recently. "So I think it's the sheer difficulty of adjusting every single day to catch fish that more times than not, leave you stumped."
Lubbat has conquered the challenges so well that he has been reaping honors for his angling. He recently was named to the Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team.
“When I heard of the all-American team a few years back when it first started, I knew I wanted to be on the team," Lubbat said. "I have always been a huge sports fan, so when I heard there was a Bassmaster All-American team, I immediately equated it with the (Associated Press) All-American team for basketball. I knew from then on, it would be one of my main goals in my high school career.”
According the Illinois High School Association website, Lubbat took second place out of 322 contestants in the Bassmaster High School Southern Open after reaching the top five in every tournament he competed in during the previous year -- a run that included eight wins. He also dominated the Golden Share High School tourney series by breaking the five-fish-limit record.
To make the all-American team, an applicant has to first be selected for Bassmaster All-State status. Then, a judges' panel cuts the field to the 12 anglers to be all-Americans.
This year, the process drew more than 380 applicants from 40 states, 69 of which became all-staters. Criteria considered for all-America status include tourney resumes, community service, and coaches' and school officials' recommendations.
Lubbat's love of fishing came from his father, who was “a Lake Michigan salmon guru,” Lubbat said. During summers, the family would stay at Lake Geneva, where Lubbat would fish off the dock for panfish and earned the nickname, “The Fishing Magician,” he said. Lubbat also did multispecies fishing, adding walleye, pike and bass to his list. Later, in middle school, he focused on bass once he realized how serious the sport is. He also won the first tourney he entered.
To prepare for tournaments on less-familiar lakes, Lubbat said he will go to the tourney site three days ahead of the event and fish all day every day. He will also research the lake's fishing trends and sometimes check the currents.
“If it is springtime and they are spawning, we will look on our Lowrance mapping with our Navionics Chip and mark all the spawning pockets we want to check in practice before we get there,” he said. “If it is summertime and they should be out on there deep summer haunts, we will put waypoints on all the ledges and points we want to go graph/check in practice.”
Lubbat plans on continuing competing in tourneys after high school, including on college circuits and at least one of the Bassmaster Open circuits.
“My end goal is to become a radiologist, not a professional angler, but I still plan on fishing every tournament I can during college and throughout my life,” he said.