Bila, who partnered the past three seasons with former Hayden angler Thomas Heinen, is now a three-time all-state pick, earning honorable mention nods in 2018 and 2017. He fishes for the Capital City Club alongside new teammate Eli Minster, and the pair won the Kansas BASS Nation’s only fall high school tournament Sept. 8 at Hillsdale Reservoir.
“It means a lot to make the first team this year,” Bila said. “Ever since I’ve started fishing, I’ve seen the older guys I look up to make the first team and it’s an honor to make it this year.
“The rest of the season is very dependent on this tournament on Grand Lake (in Oklahoma). My new partner, Eli Minster, and I have been preparing and looking forward to fishing this ever since our win on Hillsdale. Eli is new to tournament fishing, but I hope we can put a pattern together and be able to place high again.”
Bila plans to fish competitively next year in college at Drury University in Springfield, Mo.
Heinen, who also was a three-time all-state pick, now fishes collegiately for Washburn. He said he was happy to hear the news of his former teammate making the All-State team.
“I have known Brock for many years now and last year was our last season teamed up together,” Heinen said. “We had lots of success throughout the years, and seeing him still succeeding is awesome. The All-State team is a great opportunity for these young high school anglers to get their name out in the bass fishing industry.”
Halstead and his teammate, Simmons, fish for the Capital City Club and took fifth in this fall’s qualifier at Hillsdale. In August 2018, they competed in the Bassmaster High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake and sat in fourth place after this first day of fishing before finishing ninth.
Still, who attends Shawnee Heights and Washburn Institute of Technology, began fishing on the high school bass circuits last year after fishing against adult competition on the Kansas Crappie Club tournament trail. Along with teammate Connor Brees, the Capital City Club team member finished second last year at the 2018 TBF/FLW state championship on Wilson Reservoir.
“Honestly, I never thought in a million years when I started fishing high school bass tournaments that I would be recognized by BASS,” Still said. “I seen my name when they came out with the list yesterday and it was one of the coolest things ever. I’m gonna keep fishing hard in the high school series and try and get recognized by BASS many more times.
“I wouldn’t be able to have these opportunities to fish these high school tournaments without the help of my parents and friends and family and also a huge thanks to Denis Boyles and his wife; Greg Overby; High Class Hanika; Rockwell Security; Casey Brees; Skycom; Cliff Bammes; Ryan Allen; Joe Bragg; Hallas Construction and Bass Tech Baits. All of those people are people who have helped me get where I am today.”
He said he hasn’t decided yet if he will fish collegiately, but if he does, it will be at Washburn alongside Heinen. Still and Heinen fish together frequently and run a YouTube fishing channel called Keepitpinned Fishing.
“Being on the list is an honor, and anyone who has been on it knows it takes lots of hard work and dedication,” Heinen said. “I’m glad to see some of my close friends make the list. The two have lots of potential and many talents. I wish them the best of luck in future tournaments and many years down the road.”