A series of open tournaments for high school fishermen will conclude June 29 on Lake Barkley in Dover, Tenn.
The expansion of national events was announced Jan. 16 by The Bass Federation (TBF), Student Angler Federation and Benton-based FLW Outdoors. The added events are intended to enhance the existing lineup of state and conference championships.
Since the national introduction of High School Fishing by The Bass Federation (TBF) and FLW under the Student Angler Federation (SAF) umbrella in 2011, participation has more than doubled each year and three states (Kentucky, New Hampshire and Missouri) have joined Illinois in sanctioning bass fishing as an official high school sport, according to TBF.
Kentucky joined the states which officially sanction high school fishing last year, and the first KHSAA state tournament was held on Kentucky Lake out of Kenlake State Resort Park marina.
The top 10 percent of each high school fishing state championship field will advance to a conference championship instead of just the state champions as in years past. The top 10 percent of each conference championship field in 2014 will also advance to the 2015 High School Fishing National Championship that will coincide with the TBF National Championship and a Walmart FLW Tour stop.
A series of national high school fishing opens held at FLW Tour events will also be introduced for 2014. Each open will offer a conference championship berth to the winning team and qualify students for the High School Fishing World Finals.
“The expansion in High School Fishing shows The Bass Federation and FLW’s commitment to providing unprecedented opportunities for high school anglers across the country,” TBF national youth director Mark Gintert said.
“As our participation numbers in each state continue to grow, we want to reward teams proportionately. The addition of national high school fishing opens at FLW Tour stops gives our anglers additional advancement opportunities as well as the opportunity to experience big-time professional fishing up close and personal.”
In 2013 TBF and FLW held 52 high school fishing tournaments nationwide. Each tournament is part of the Student Angler Federation, the first and only national high school fishing program providing turnkey solutions for state athletic associations.
“High school fishing is an exciting growth area for our sport, and in addition to on-the-water opportunities, we are thrilled to give students the chance to meet some of the world’s best anglers and experience the thrill of professional bass fishing at a very personal level next season,” FLW vice president of operations Dave Washburn said.
“High school fishing provides students with a connection to their school that they’ve never enjoyed before and is creating a whole new generation of anglers,” Washburn added.
Events are scheduled for Feb. 9 at Moore Have, Fla. (Lake Okeechobee); March 8, Anderson, S.C. (Lake Russell); April 12, Grove, Okla. (Grand Lake); June 8, Rogersville, Ala. (Lake Wheeler); and June 29, Dover, Tenn. (Lake Barkley).
Visit highschoolfishing.org for additional details. Registration for the open tournaments will start Jan. 17.