Student Angler Federation Announces New Layout For the High School Fishing World Finals And National Championship

Student Angler Federation Announces New Layout For the High School Fishing World Finals And National Championship

Building off a record 2018 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship where nearly 400 teams from across the globe competed, The Bass Federation’s Student Angler Federation (SAF) and our partners in fishing at FLW announced today a new strategically aligned three-year schedule.

The High School Fishing World Finals is without a doubt, the event that started it all in High School Fishing, it has led to more high school anglers, teams and trails starting up than any other single item. Many anglers can trace their roots to a member participating at the very first world finals held in Arkansas in 2010 or to being one of the first SAF school clubs founded in 2007. From there, the SAF program, backed by TBF and FLW, has grown into the industry leader and the world’s largest and longest running High School Fishing Program. The championship events have offered well over one million dollars in college scholarships and youth prizes since the first World Finals event and has advanced to the point that schools and families need more time to plan attending like most other premier sporting events. To better support that that need, SAF has set up a three-year rotation in a very large sort of “triangle” across the US. Now anglers anywhere in the world can plan travel, raise funds and chart a path to reach the pinnacle in High School Fishing.

First up is June 18-22, 2019 with registration opening up January 3rd. The 2019 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship will return to the popular Pickwick and Wilson lakes at Florence, Alabama out of MacFarland Park. The facility easily accommodates an event of this size and in 2018 TBF/SAF and their partners in fishing at FLW staged and sent out 392 teams in about an hour each morning with a throngs of industry vendors and spectators at the daily weigh-ins under 12,000 sq ft of tent space.

“Florence Lauderdale Tourism is excited to again be the Host for the 2019 High School World Fishing Finals! We have hosted this tournament for several years, and plan to host it again in the future as it brings a huge economic impact to our community. We look forward to seeing young enthusiastic anglers fishing our beautiful lakes!” Stated Rob Carnegie, President of Florence Lauderdale CVB

In 2020, the Championships will look to a new location in the June/July time frame that any angler would want to fish. It is the bonified fish factory of the Upper Mississippi River at LaCrosse, WI.

“”Explore La Crosse is ecstatic to partner with the Student Angler Federation to host the future of professional bass anglers, the High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship in 2020! The Upper Mississippi River out of the La Crosse area is one of the best bass fisheries in the country with incredible quantities and high quality largemouth and smallmouth bass. La Crosse County not only bolsters great fishing, but also world class fine dining, incredible arts, outdoor recreation in hiking and biking, a variety of attractions, and so much more for the entire family to enjoy during their stay.”

June 2021, will find the Championships on the massive boarder waters between South Carolina and Georgia of Lake Hartwell at Anderson, SC.

“We are very proud to be working with the TBF\SAF and hosting the High School World Finals and National Championship in 2021! The future in bass fishing is our high school anglers and we look forward to the opportunity to host them all in our community. Our team at Anderson County has worked very hard to ensure that we’re a destination for bass fishing with Green Pond Landing, one of the top facilities in America and our fishery, Lake Hartwell, has been named a Top 100 Bass Lake in America for 4 consecutive years! We could not be more excited about hosting the future of our sport right here in Anderson!”

In the competitive fishing arena there is just no way around travel for the anglers, industry staff and partners it is expected fishing is no different than baseball, softball, cheer or dance team championships. Couple that with the fact that few places can accommodate 400 plus teams on the water for a week limits the options. It’s a large event but designed so that as many young anglers as possible can have a chance at the more than $150,000 in scholarships offered each year and to experience the comradery of an event this size where lifetime friendships are made.

“Feedback from the students and families is they understand that travel is a part of it, it is not their favorite part nor is it ours, but they wanted more time to plan, save and raise funds and possibly schedule a vacation a year in advance to prefish someplace new, so we are announcing 3 years in advance. Stated TBF President\CEO Robert Cartlidge. If you can picture a “triangle” of locations paired with a four-year High School career it means that at least 2 out of the 3 years the pinnacle events in all of High School Fishing will be “closer” to everyone no matter what side of the “triangle” you live on.
“Closer” is relative of course but now clubs and families can plan vacations and prepare.”

The popular four-day High School Fishing World Finals and National championship combined event format is a very unique structure where all anglers compete for three days in a format with a second chance round designed to keep everyone in the game until the final day cut. The dual event format saves families money by not having to make two trips to different premier events. For full details, check out You can get your club affiliated with SAF and compete! All TBF, SAF and FLW High School Fishing events are no entry fee events. To register, anglers only need to be a member of the Student Angler Federation (SAF) which is a mere $25 per year and includes competitor SAF and FLW memberships. It is as easy as completing the online registration at

About The Bass Federation
The Bass Federation Inc., (TBF) is a member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. TBF is owned by those we serve and dedicated to the sport of fishing. The Federation is the largest and oldest, organized grassroots fishing, youth and conservation organization there is. TBF, our affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 events each year and have provided a foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for 50 years. TBF founded the Student Angler Federation and the National High School Fishing program in 2007 to promote clean family fun and education through fishing. Visit or and “LIKE US” on Facebook.
About FLW
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

Tolle and Hale, 2018 High School Fishing World Finals Champions

Ponca City, Okla., – July 2, 2018 – The TBF Student Angler Federation, (SAF) along with our partners in fishing at FLW hosted the 9th Annual High School Fishing World Finals June 26-30 on Pickwick Lake. The most prestigious high school event in the country lived up to the hype crushing records in attendance, number of contenders and participating states. Over $150,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded with a field consisting of 384 teams from 35 states. This is the fourth year the HSFWF has been hosted by the Florence-Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala.

The 2018 High School Fishing World Finals Champions, Jeremy Tolle and Garrett Hale, from Kiefer Trojans High School in Oklahoma brought in a limit of bass weighing 23 pounds 9 ounces to claim the esteemed titles, scholarships, and prizes. They walked away with a $28,000 a year for four year scholarship award to the top ranked college fishing program in the country, Bethel University.

In addition to $56,000 in scholarships, the champions each received a $250 Cabela’s gift card, nearly 6ft tall World Finals trophies and 50 inch flatscreens and more.

“It’s still crazy. It’s almost like it hasn’t set in yet every time I look at the trophy or anything that brings it up it just blows my mind away,” Tolle said. “My partner and I drove my dad’s truck home by ourselves, about 9 hours. He was worried the whole way home if we were awake or had enough energy. But, we kept telling him every time we got tired we would just talk about it and get all excited again.”

Tolle and Hale definitely had reasons to celebrate. They came from 55th place on day one to be named 2018 World Champions.

“I’m pretty estatic; I’m still on cloud 9 right now,” Hale said. “I mean it was just crazy because when it happened it sat in real fast. On the way home we just kept talking about it and redoing it over the whole week. I mean we didn’t even think we had a chance. But, on the way home the part that set in was that the decisions we made, they were the right ones.”

At the banquet with all the trophies set out on stage the shiny golden fish on top was about 10 ft taller then the team as they walked by and the team’s boat captain, Jeff Tolle, said they were going to get one of those.

“We took it serious, we really wanted to have it sure,” Hale said. “But, it was kinda like a joke at the same time – I mean there were 384 boats. Our accomplishment was making day four and just trying to get to the top 30; I guess everything went right for us.”

The same trophies at the brut of the joke now have homes in Tolle’s living room right next to their TV and Hale’s bedroom. Hale’s Mom re-decorated his room while he was at the event and now there’s a perfect spot for it. It’s as if Mom knew to make room for it.

“Of all the prizes that 6ft tall trophy was THE winner,” Boat Captain, Jeff Tolle, said. “I’ve been around fishing my whole adult life and I was really blown away with the tournament. I thought you guys rolled out the red carpet for those kids. It was a great experience.

The pinnacle to Jeremy is being a college angler and I think that your event really helped get them ready for what it’s going to look like,” Tolle continued.

“I thought the prizes for college were really cool, and the recognition they got, talking to them on stage, feeding them, it was all just really well done. It’s a cool format. I mean, that’s a legit, big-time, national- level (format) that’s what it’s like. Let them experience it.”

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Coming in second was Gerald Brumbaugh and Hunter Klotz of the Central HS Dragons team from Martinsburg, Pa. The team had limits of 12 pounds 15 ounces and 13 pounds 4 ounces after two tournament days. But, with 26 pounds 3 ounces the team sat in 39th. They kept cutting away at the lead and on day three and tied for 15th with a limit of bass weighing 16 pounds 14 ounces.

“We started out throwing dropshots the first day but we found out that it really caught small fish, but then we switched to a spoon and a big Carolina Rig and that really seemed to get the big largemouth outta the bunch,” Brumbaugh said.

On the final day, the duo brought 19 pounds 14 ounces to the scales with a largemouth beauty knocking the scales at 7 pounds 1 ounce. “We caught it right away actually it was our second fish at about 8 o’clock,” Brumbaugh said.

Brumbaugh and Klotz had success all week throwing the spoon and the Carolina Rig; but, the spoon helped them land the 7 pound 1 ounce kicker.

“You really just had to grind it out, work the baits slow and trust the Carolina Rig,” Klotz said. “Yeah, and you really had to work that spoon hard that’s what ‘Gerry’ did all week.”

Third place team, Cort Walker and Lawson Tighten from the Hardin Co HS Tigers in Counce, Tennessee were awarded the $20,000 a year for four year scholarship to Bethel University for being the second highest finishing Junior/Senior eligible team. But, turned out the team already had eligible scholarships to Bethel University and so they passed the award to the fourth place finishers.

A little bit of shock and awe from fourth place finishers, Luke Mchan and Black Cobb, as they accepted the $40,000 scholarship offer. The Fanning Fishing Club from Blue Ridge, Georgia had a limit of bass weighing 17 pounds.

Fifth place team, Jerren Gieske and Austin Clanton, from the Lawrence Co Wildcats in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., had a limit of bass weighing 16 pounds 3 ounces.



Top 5 teams in the world standings:

  1. Jeremy Tolle – Garrett Hale, from Kiefer Trojans, Kiefer, Oklahoma

2. Gerald Brumbaugh – Hunter Klotz, from Central HS Dragons, Martinsburg, Pennsylvania

3. Cort Walker – Lawson Tighman, Hardin Co HS Tigers, Counce, Tennessee

4. Luke Mchan – Blake Cobb, Fanning Fishing club, Blue Ridge, Georgia

5. Jerren Gieske – Austin Clanton, Lawrence Co, Wildcats., Lawrenceburg Tennessee

The final day weighin was presented by our sponsor partners at LIVE Target, St. Croix rods and Tournament Trail Ink.

SAF sponsors include Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Lowrance, Evinrude, Motorguide, FAVORITE fishing, Lew’s, Rapala, Live Target, Navionics, BlackFish Gear, Okuma, Faculty of Fishing, St. Croix, BOOYAH, the Pursuit Channel, MOVEU Apparel Berkley, VMC, Quantum, Eagle Claw TroKar, iCatch, TH Marine, Tournament Trail Ink and, of course, SAF’s longtime partners in fishing at FLW.


Mckie and Champy Crowned 2018 National Champions on Pickwick; 31 Teams Advance to the Final Day of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals

Florence, Ala., – June 29, 2018

The 2018 National Championship being held in conjunction with the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., concluded today.  The winning team received a $10,000 scholarship for their efforts and will advance to the final day of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals.  This week over $150,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded plus double the sponsor swag and giveaways.  Today, a record-breaking crowd was attendance to witness the crowning of the 2018 National Champions, Kyler Mckie and Chad Champy.

The victors held on to their lead by merely four ounces with a limit of bass weighing 19 pounds 12 ounces making their tournament total 57 pounds 10 ounces.
George Rogers Clark Cardinals, Hunter Redman and Avery Brown, finished second bringing a limit to the scales just one ounce away.  The team caught 19 pounds 11 ounces for a tournament total of 57 pounds 6 ounces.  Both teams will be amongst the top 10 National Championship qualifiers to advance to Saturday’s finale with one goal in mind – claiming the most prestigious titles in high school fishing, 2018 High School Fishing World Finals Champions.

Mckie and Champy found one of Pickwick’s sweet spots and have been grinding it out from day one.  “We are just going to do the same thing tomorrow,” the team said.  “I don’t think we are going to have a real good day tomorrow but we are just going to go out there and try out hardest to get a good bag.”
Winning the titles by ounces wasn’t the only circumstance on their sides.  The two caught their last bass with about three minutes to spare and it measured 15 and an 8th inch, just barely over the line.  “It’s still unbelievable, we’re so thankful to be here,” the team commented on the news of their national title win.
“We had two fish out in about 15 minutes, two keepers, and they really came in big time for us,” Mckie said.  “I’ve been fishing this tournament for a couple years and been doing a bunch of nothing. It is great to finally get my name out there.”

As the win settles in, Mckie and Champy must now set their sights on tomorrow’s prize for all the glory.  The weights will be zeroed and 30 accomplished anglers stand in the way.

Redmond and Brown have been on their heels by ounces and are thirsty for redemption.  Both the Semi-Final contestants and the Second Chance round anglers were hungry today, as well.  Forty-nine limits and four bags over 20 pounds were caught between those brackets.

First place Semi-Finalist, Kyle Bahr and Tyler Bahr from the Brainerd Warriors caught a five bass limit weighing 20 pounds 14 ounces while Second Chance Round leaders, Hunter Bailey and Kallie Jolly, from Cherokee County High School caught a limit weighing 20 pounds 3 ounces.

Tournament big bass honors went to the team of Nick Dotson and Graidon Hensley competing in the Second Chance round  and landing a 7 pounds 13 ounce lunker.  As well as, the Semi-Finalists, Camden Slone and Caleb Hurt with 6 pound 13 ounce bass.
To say that anything can happen tomorrow would be an extreme understatement.

One team will separate themselves from the pack and along with nationally recognized bragging rights, that team will receive a $24,000, four year scholarship award if eligible to the top ranked college fishing team in the country, Bethel University, plus their choice of some lucrative prizes.  The second place finishers will also receive a $20,000, four year scholarship award if eligible to Bethel University.

All 31 teams competing tomorrow will receive a trophy and their choice of prizes in order of their finishes.

Today’s weighin was sponsored by SAF sponsor partners, Rapala, VMC and Sufix.  The Senior Night Pizza party was sponsored by FAVORITE fishing who supplied each graduated Senior a brand new FAVORITE fishing rod.

Tune in tomorrow at for live event coverage and the Student Angler Federation Facebook page for event photos and updates.  Takeoff is at 5:30am from McFarland Park and weighin begins at 1:30pm.  The event is free and open to the public.