Ryan Orsargos has grown up fishing, and at age 13, he’s already grown into quite a successful angler.
The son of Darrin and Sherry Orsargos, of Homer City, Ryan won the TBF Pennsylvania Bass state championship in the 11- to 14-year-old age group at Presque Isle Bay on Lake Erie in late August.
The title was Ryan’s second. He also won in 2011 at age 11.
“I had done it before and it just felt good to do it again,” he said.
With first place, he also earned a spot in the TBF Junior World Championship at Lake Murray, S.C., in August 2014.
Ryan was introduced to fishing by his father and his uncle, Charlie Orsargos.
“He started fishing early,” his father said. “I remember taking him to the local lakes and taking a diaper bag with me. We would go home, and at that young age, he wouldn’t want to get out of the boat. He would just stay in the boat. This wasn’t something that was forced on him. He wanted to do that from the get-go. It’s something he really enjoys doing, and I enjoy doing it, too.”
“I’ve been fishing (competitively) since I was about 8,” Ryan, an eighth-grader in the Homer-Center School District, said. “I got it from my dad and my uncle. … I just like fishing, and I like winning.”
Ryan got involved with the Allegheny Mountain Bass Anglers’ junior club after his father had participated in the adult club, based in Johnstown, for years.
“I’ve been fishing bass tournaments probably since the late ’80s, since they started having local buddy tournaments around here on the lakes,” Darrin Orsargos said. “He was born into that type of family. We do a lot of competitive fishing.”
“I like being with my friends in the club,” Ryan said. “I like it because you’re in the outdoors, you’re active, and you’re just out on the water having a good day most of the time.”
Of course, Ryan takes it a little more seriously than just a day on the water at times.
“I’ve just got to go out and fish more,” Ryan said of preparing for next August, “use some more techniques and get used to throwing different baits, finishing different covers for the fish to hide and stuff.”
“Fishing’s a lot like golf — every day’s a challenge,” Darrin Orsargos said. “When you’re paying to fish, you kind of take it more seriously. … You don’t want to take it as a goofing-around trip. You want to give yourself a chance to win some money back.”
Ryan gave himself a really good chance at Lake Erie in late August.
“My dad and I went up to practice and we were out catching them on crankbaits,” Ryan said. “So the first (tournament) day came and I caught the limit on crankbaits. I had about 10 pounds. The second day, I threw crankbait for about two hours and I didn’t get any bites, so I switched over to something else (beavers and a 4-inch crest-tail Jackall worm) that I caught a few on, then I just caught them from there on.”