Nick Langton knew that high school bass fishing offered more than fishing.

“I really wanted wanted to start a club,’’ Langton said. “It is great exposure for kids who want to get into the bass fishing industry.’’

Think of it as specialized vocational training. That is an unexpected bonus of Illinois being the first to start a state-wide high school bass fishing eight years ago.

A number of Illinois high schoolers have used their bass fishing experiences either to work around or in the fishing/outdoors industry or to help with their college experience and expenses.

Langton fits that mold.

He can sell. And work.

As a sophomore, Langton pushed to start the first bass fishing team/club at Glenbard North in Carol Stream. He is now a senior and will turn 18 next month.

Langton is the student Eric Stark, a gym teacher at Stratford Middle School, needed.

“I actually went to school with the athletic director at North and I was bugging him for awhile,’’ Stark said. “It never really took off. Finally Nick sent emails to the club director and athletic director, so the club started.

“He is really good at reaching out to people, great knack for such a young kid. He reached out to you. He has social media skills.’’

For anyone–parent or student–who wants to start a bass fishing team/club at their school, those are two of the most important components: interested students and a dedicated coach. The third prong is community support.

Stark and Langton have that in Langton’s uncle Joseph Sucato, who provided access to another boat. Both have multi-species boats, not unusual for northern Illinois teams.

Now there is around half dozen guys in the club. Langton is the best fishermen and helps lead the club when Stark is not there. Langton also reached out to get team support from the fishing industry.

That gift for communicating and selling paid off for Langton when he connected with Terry Manley of Manley Rods. Langton joined their pro staff, helping with social media (one of the best ways for young people to open the door to the outdoors industry).

The first two years, the Panthers did not advance out of sectionals, but they did win the DuPage Valley Conference tournament last spring on Braidwood Lake.

As to Langton’s bass fishing, Stark said, “Both of us are good shallow water fishermen. He is really good jig fisherman, really good at flipping.’’

“I like to flip,’’ Langton agreed. “Most of the lakes around here are shallow cover, so flipping a jig is key to my success.’’

Langton, a solid B student, is smart enough to acknowledge help in building his fishing life. His parents, Bob and Stacey, drove him around to events before he got a license. Terry Brown of Wired2Fish out of Bloomington helped.

Langton’s ultimate dream would be to be as a professional bass fisherman, but he is grounded enough to find that unlikely. He savors the reality that Mark Daniels Jr. brings in his YouTube series, “Circuit Breaker.’’

All the same, Langton said, “I used to do other sports, but bass fishing has taken over my life,’’

STURGEON: Low water clarity will extend the sturgeon spearing season, which opened Saturday, on Wisconsin’s Winnebago system. Senior fisheries biologist Ryan Koenigs said the biggest sturgeon speared the first three days was 77 inches, 147.9 pounds, taken by Daniel Bloesl.

STRAY CAST: Mike Florio is to the NFL what glochidia are to largemouth bass.