The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with FLW Outdoors, and the Mississippi Bass Federation hosted the inaugural Student Angler Federation Mississippi High School Fishing State Championship, August 27 at the Stennis East Bank Lock and Dam Recreation Area in Columbus, Miss. The state championship was a two person team event for students in grades 9-12.
The fishing appeared to be tough, but a state champion was crowned. First Place went to the team from Houlka Attendance Academy – Blake Galloway and Dillon Easly of Houlka, MS who weighed in just 5.50 lbs. It was enough to take the championship. Second Place went to Cy Gatwood and Blake Lee of Stone High School with 4.26lbs. Third Place was awarded to Garrett Riles, Potts Camp Ms and Ty Jobe, Lewisburg, Ms of Potts Camp with 3.30lbs.
The state champions will advance to an FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing Regional Championship held in conjunction with a National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championship hosted on a college campus this fall. They will receive travel allowances to help offset expenses. The winners from each regional will advance to the FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing National Championship held on a college campus in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship in the Spring of 2012. National Champions will each receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at the university of their choice.
Teams who entered and competed at this event, if still eligible, will be qualified to fish in the largest event in high school fishing, the 2012 High School Fishing World Finals (at no extra cost), to compete for thousands in college scholarships and prizes. Additionally, it is open to any and all high school fishing teams who would like to come and compete. If you are not SAF members, you will just need to pay a $50 team entry fee. For more information regarding the HSFWF, please visit our HS Fishing World Finals page on HighSchoolFishing.org.
A unique feature of an SAF sanctioned event such as this is the “angler testing” component. Anglers were given the opportunity to take a free online test at HighSchoolFishing.org about boater safety, conservation and angler ethics, which made them eligible for contingency awards at their state championship. “It’s an industry first by TBF and a tremendous way to emphasize the importance of education to these student anglers,” TBF Youth Director Mark Gintert commented. “The Federation is driven by our desire to promote education through fishing and the testing component is designed to do exactly that. Put this package together with our partnership with FLW Outdoors and the sky is the limit. These young anglers will have opportunities unlike anything the industry has ever seen.”
TBF and SAF would like to thank the Chris Morlok, Mississippi Bass Federation Youth Director, the Mississippi Bass Federation, The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau and all the volunteers who helped make this event happen. And a huge thank you to all the parents, mentors, teachers, coaches and boat captains for getting your students involved with high school fishing! Thank you all! We couldn’t do this without you.