Record-Crushing Turnout at 2018 High School Fishing World Finals and TBF/FLW National Championship on Pickwick Lake

Florence, AL – June 26, 2018

2018 HSFWF 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place Trophies + National Champs

The TBF Student Angler Federation, (SAF) and its partners in fishing at FLW are once again hosting the widely popular and ever growing high school fishing, the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals, June 26-30.  The 2018 National Championship is also being held this week in conjunction with the pinnacle event on Lake Pickwick in Florence, Ala., hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism.    The event will boast over $150,000 in scholarships and prizes, more than double the sponsor swag, giveaways and drawings, plus a week of family fun – all with no entry fees.

Since TBF founded SAF and the first in the nation National High School Fishing program in 2007 the trajectory has been nearly straight up.  This year, 384 teams of high school anglers traveled from 35 different states to put their skills to the test.  Tomorrow, these student anglers will kick off the tournament launching from McFarland Park.  Tonight, they were greeted by a welcome banquet full of sponsor swag, giveaways, dinner by local favorite, 508 BBQ, guest speakers, a rules meeting and more.


TBF President and CEO, Robert Cartlidge, addressed the room attesting to the success of the company and the program, what it means to the sport and announced an all new program for 2019 to promote high school fishing everywhere.


“Since we founded the National SAF high school fishing program in 2007 it has grown substantially due to the incredibly support of our sponsors, parents, boat captains and young anglers just like those sitting in the Coliseum tonight,” Cartlidge said.  “SAF, along with our partners in fishing at FLW, will continue to work tirelessly to make sure events like this are possible.

So tonight, we are thrilled to announce that we will invest more and take High School and Youth fishing to the next in conjunction with our TV partners at the Pursuit Channel and will have an entirely new 13 week block on the Pursuit channel in 2019 dedicated to SAF High School Fishing and our youth programs.   During this new 13-week block of Federation Angler TV on Pursuit, we will be highlighting SAF clubs and SAF Sanctioned circuits and trails from across the globe so stay tuned for more on that as we cannot wait to see what the future holds for these young men and women both in the industry and in life – and with the talent of these young people in this room the sky is the limit.”








The top ranked college fishing program in the nation, Bethel University, has offered scholarships to our champions for the past several years,” Cartlidge continued.  “This year they have went above and beyond by offering not only a $28,000, four-year scholarship award to the highest finishing eligible Junior and senior team for $56,000 total but also a $20,000, four-year scholarship award to our 2nd highest finishing eligible team members for another $40,000 scholarship.  This commitment alone speaks volumes about the growth and future our sport and if you want to be the top ranked college fishing program in the nation as Bethel is, then you recruit the best high school anglers right here with SAF.”

Guest speakers and dignitaries in attendance included Mayor Steve Holt of the City of Florence and the Manager/Sport and Event Sales Director of Florence Tourism, Suzie Shoemaker.  Numerous sponsors were also present to greet the young anglers and speak to the anglers.  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.

National Champion Trophies

“The high school fishing program is such an important program for helping young conservationists to protect and enjoy our natural resources,” FLW National Youth Director, Scott Ellison, said.  “This week’s events are a wonderful way to celebrate these talented young anglers from around the nation and the sport of high school fishing.

There is still plenty of work to be done to further the growth of our sport at the high school level and FLW is excited to continue those efforts with our tremendous partners at TBF.”


Wednesday and Thursday the whole field will compete both on the HSFWF and National Championship pools. Then, on Friday the top 10 National Champion contenders will see one team crowned that team will walk away with a $10,000 scholarship provided by FLW.  All other teams will be competing for the remaining 21 HSFWF slots in Saturday’s final plus one lucky dog drawing, which will be picked at random at Friday’s Senior Night presented by FAVORITE fishing.

Daily weigh in begin at 1:30 pm CST from Mcfarland park and live on as well as on   Facebook.  Attendance is free and open to the public. The stakes have been raised and the stage has been set now just four days of competition separate these young anglers from all the glory.

2018 SAF Mississippi State Championship Crowns Willoughby and Saucier

The SAF Mississippi High School State Championship was held on April 7  on Columbus Lake, in Columbus, Ms. It was a tough day of fishing for the 37 teams combined with bitter cold temperatures and high winds.

James Willoughby and Ashton Saucier of the West Harrison High School Hurricanes Fishing Team brought in five bass weighing 14.04 pounds to be crowned 2018 Mississippi High School Fishing State Champions.


Coming in second place was Drew Lockhart and Easton Higginbotham from Amory High School with five fish weighing 13.06 pounds. Third place went to Brandon Bell and John Cox from Starkville High School with five fish weighing 11.82 pounds. Fourth place went to Garrett McWilliams and Addison Yates from Discovery Christian School with four fish weighing 10.84 pounds they also won the Lew’s Big Bass Award with a 4.54 pound big bass.

The top three teams will advance to the 2018 National Championship to be held June 25–30, 2018 at McFarland Park, Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala.

Mississippi SAF extends a big, “Thank you,” to their sponsors and the Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Taylor and David Top 61 Teams on Gibson to Earn 2018 Oklahoma State Champion Titles

It was a typical sunny, Oklahoma scorcher on Fort Gibson Lake as 61 boats traveled from across the state over Memorial Day weekend for the annual Oklahoma High School Fishing State Championship event.  The top 10% of SAF State Championship and FLW/TBF Open events advance to the 2018 National Championship held in conjunction with the High School Fishing World Finals.  The 2018 HSFWF’s and National Championship events will return to Lake Pickwick, June 26-30 and the top six teams from this event will be among the elite.

Mack Taylor and Reese David of the Sand Spring Sandites keyed in on a pattern of fish holding in deeper water just of rocky shorelines.  They had success on a variety of lures and presentations during practice but decided go with a finesse presentation.  Despite pressure on Gibson over Memorial Day weekend, the pattern and presentation held out as the pair landed a limit of bass weighing 19.42 pounds.

“There are a lot of very good high school fishing teams in Oklahoma, so we knew that winning the SAF High School Championship was going to be a challenge,” Taylor said.  “We used  a combination of a 1/8 oz shaky head with a 4 inch Bama Magic Yum Dinger and a 5/16 Biffle hard head with a Sooner Run Biffle Bug.  On the final day of practice, we let our key areas rest and looked for other off shore humps that may be holding fish.”

On the morning of the event the champs pulled into their first spot and ten minutes later they were reeling in a five pounder.  “We followed that with a 4.5 pound fish and then three other fish in the 3 pound range,” Reese commented.  “We had a 19 pound bag by 8am.”

After that, the biggest challenge for the team was making sure the fish stayed alive and healthy through the Oklahoma heat.    “We used a combination of G-Juice, Ice, and the oxygenator system on our Ranger boat to keep the fish healthy,” Boat Captain, Jeff Taylor, said.

“We would like to thank the SAF for hosting the High School State Championship,” Taylor and Reese, continued.  “We love bass fishing and these events give us a chance to learn more about competitive fishing and to also meet a lot of other high school anglers from across the state who share our love and passion for the sport.


We would like to thank our sponsors for helping us throughout the year, Nichols Marine and Stan Jones for keeping our boat in top condition and supplying us with oil and Tulsa Truck Works for helping us keep organized with a Leer camper.  We also appreciate the support from Quantum, Strike King, Interstate Batteries, Gene Larew, and Yum.  Most of all we would like to thank our parents who are our biggest supporters.”

Coming close in second place and punching their ticket to the national contest, was the Wagoner Bulldog fishing team of Tate Brumnett and Austin Hornbuckle.  Brumnett and Hornbuckle had a limit of bass weighing 18 pounds 44 ounces with a 4.48 pound kicker.

The third place team of Kole Poindexter and Larry Rea Jr from the Eufaula Ironheads had a limit of bass weighing 17.84 pounds.  Fourth and fifth places went to the teams of Cameron Dahlem and Kolby Frazier from the Sallisaw Black Diamonds with 17.81 pounds and Jeremy Tolle and Garrett Hale of the Kiefer Trojans with 17.39 pounds.  The final qualifying spot went to the sixth place team of Caden Sharp and Gage Hill of the Grove Fishing Team with 16.81 pounds.

The High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship are just around the corner as State Championships and Open events wrap up across the country.  On Fort Gibson Lake, six more top-notch teams are added to that list and will face off against the best of the best on Pickwick Lake.