18lb 10ounces Set the Bar High-Top 7 Advance to the Final Contest

July 23, 2010 – Changes on Lake Dardanelle slowed the bite, but not for some who rose above the pack to solidify their spots on the final day of competition.  These top seven teams advance to battle it out to see who will become the first High School Fishing World Finals Champions.  Tomorrow will decide who goes home with the titles and a prize package never seen in the industry. Champions will receive $32,000 in scholarships-$4,000/yr per winning angler up to four years-from Bethel University, spots on the Bethel University Collegiate Bass Fishing team, which is treated like any other college varsity sport team, thousands in prizes, including $500 Cabelas gift cards, and so much more.  History is about to be made, and two high school anglers future’s changed forever.

With ounces to decide their fate in the top seven final cut, tension mounted.  In the end, Austin Moody and Aimee Cresswell, from Dover High School proved they’re packing the heat, seizing the lead with the tournament big bag of 18lb 10ounces making their tournament total 29lb 15ounces.  “I held my own; my fish was biggest, well until he got the bigger one,” Cresswell said.  “Not even 30 minutes after we pulled out we got our first fish, then not far along we hooked a 5 pounder,” Cresswell’s partner, Moody said.  The Dover High School teammates might have entered the final day in first place, but tomorrow weights will be zeroed and the playing field leveled.  “Our game plan for tomorrow is just to hit ‘em hard, catch a lot of fish, and have fun.”

The High School Fishing World Finals and the Student Angler Federation (SAF) is all about sportsmanship.  Moody and Cresswell give much credit and thanks to Hunter Daniel and Corey McKowan of the Pottsville High School fishing team.  Both teams came on the same water, but when Pottsville found out Dover was fighting for contention they pulled off.  “They let us have the entire area to ourselves and we want to thank them so very much; it’s just awesome of them.”

Day one leaders, Jordan Burdette and Brandon Merical from Farragut High School, slipped into the second spot today, but with weights zeroed it’s anybody’s game.  They brought two fish to the scales that weighed a total of 5lb 7ounces making their total going into the final day 21lb 7ounces.  “We want to thank our parents and thank God first for giving us the fish to catch,” Burdette and Merical said.  At a last minute hiccup, the Farragut High School team was short a boat captain and wasn’t going to attend the event.  However, a College Fishing angler from Kentucky, Kyle Raymer, who has a brother fishing the event volunteered to step in.  “Kyle is great; we want to thank him so much.”  They know without the support of their families and the fishing industry none of this could be possible as shouted while leaving the stage, “we would also like to thank pure poison fishing jigs.”

Perseverance is the key for the North Canyon High School team, of Thomas Chambers and Brandon Koon.  They caught five fish today weighing a whopping 15lb 9ounces compared to their 4lb 12ounce catch on day one, making their total 20lb 5ounces.  Chambers and Koon prove it’s never too late to give up.

Jared Raymer and Ethan Snyder from Meade County High School are in fourth with four fish today weighing 12lb 10ounces making their total 20lb 3ounces.  “I’m really proud of how me and Ethan fished today; we fished hard all day,” Raymer said.  Both anglers had a lot of praise for their parents and sponsors for helping them get this far.  They were also very proud for the support from the organizations and volunteers that made it all possible.  “We want to thank TBF and Russellville, Arkansas for all they did this week.  They took all their hard work and made this a really great event for us to fish.”

Tomorrow, everybody’s weights are zeroed; every team and every ounce starts again, as the top seven teams face each other and Dardanelle to see who can come from zero to everything and win it all.

For full results, click here.


History is in the Making – The Anglers are catching them at Dardanelle

Jordan Burdette & Brandon Merical - Farragut High School (TN)

July 22, 2010 – The 2010 High School Fishing World Finals ushered in a brand new world of competitive bass fishing today, as 76 high school teams from 17 states faced off on Lake Dardanelle, in Russellville, Ark. Two Student Angler Federation (SAF) high school anglers per team and some school sending multiple teams came together today to compete in this inaugural event-the first of its kind. All teams will fish two days and then the field will be cut to the top seven teams, weights zeroed on the final day and the finalists will vie for the championship titles, $32,000 in scholarships from Bethel University, thousands in prizes and, not to mention, school pride and all its glory. One team will earn the right to be called the 2010 High School Fishing World Finals Champions, in what is sure to be remembered as one of the defining moments in High School Fishing competitions and The Bass Federation’s 40 years in youth fishing.
More than any other, this event will come down to ounces and each team had the opportunity to gain 12 bonus ounces by doing well on two different written tests. One on Invasive Species/Conservation and one on Boater Safety/Navigation.

For the Farragut High School fishing team, they are ready to get back out on the water. Leading the pack with a five bass limit weighing 15lb 4oz and two perfect test scores resulting in a 12 ounce push are Jordan Burdette and Brandon Merical, from Knoxville, Tenn. with 16lbs total. Burdette and Merical seized the opportunity to weigh-in early, with almost two hours remaining to fish. “We fished only one day of practice; so, the water we found is probably the water we’ll be staying in tomorrow,” Farragut HS teammates said. One crucial addition to their strategy is also what brought them to the scales early. “We figured that was enough to get us into the top seven as long as we can bring in another good bag.” A cushion of only eight ounces separates them from second and less than 5lb from seventh; tomorrow will decide if what they bring will be enough. “We’ll see; hate to count your chickens before they hatch, but we think it will hold.”

Jonny Shultz & Thomas Rose, Jr. - Episcopal Collegiate High School

Looking to close the gap, are Jonny Schultz and Thomas Rose, Jr., representing Episcopal Collegiate High School, in Little Rock, Ark. They caught a five bass limit and also got perfect test scores as well, making their total weight 15lb 2ounces. “We had a really good day,” Schultz and Rose said. “It was kind of strange actually; we only caught one fish in four days of pre-fishing, then we got to our first spot and were just pounding ‘em.” The Episcopal Collegiate anglers fished for about two hours during the day to find their limit and are confident in their chances. “We both caught a lot of fish and we’re going to try and catch them the same way tomorrow; 10lbs more should keep us in the top seven for the final day.” However, these anglers were quick to point out. “This is Lake Dardanelle; factors like the water depth and current make it anybody’s game, so, if it’s our tournament, then it’s our tournament.”

Like several high school anglers who came across the stage today, Schultz and Rose were proud to thank their families for support. The SAF and TBF created the High School Fishing World Finals for many reasons, this being the most important, young angler’s and their futures and families. The Episcopal Collegiate anglers echoed that. “We would also like to thank the TBF for giving high school students the opportunities to become better fishermen and better people.”

Full standings can be found here.
Day two weigh-in begins at Dardanelle state park Friday at 2:30, a family outdoors, complete with pro seminars and Range/Evinrude test rides is slated for Saturday right up until the final weigh-in at 2:30. All events are free to the public.

Championship Titles, Thousands in Scholarships & Prizes Mark Premier Event Full Of Industry Firsts

Don’t You Wish We Had This When You Were In School!

July 7, 2010 – Russellville, Ark. – High School students from across the U.S. are gearing up for what is destined to become THE High School fishing event in the industry. The 2010 SAF High School Fishing World Finals at Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville, Ark. Anglers from nearly 20 states from coast to coast and along the Canadian border registered to attend along with families and boat captains. These young men and women will compete for life changing scholarships, prizes, school pride and the right to be called the first High School Fishing World Champions.

“The Bass Federation, (TBF) has been the foundation of youth fishing for more than 40 years; we’re very proud that today, because of the hard work and leadership of our members and partners, we’re still on the leading edge of youth fishing. We’re honored to conduct the first High School Fishing World Finals through the Student Anglers Federation,” TBF National Youth Director, Mark Gintert, stated. “High school fishing is one of the fastest growing sports and we believe this event will further support a growth trend in every state, as it has in Illinois, where it’s now an official varsity sport.”

TBF has teamed up with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and Russellville tourism to make this inaugural event a success. There will be an outdoor show on Sat, July 24 lakeside at Dardanelle State Park to include Ranger/Evinrude test rides, Pro fishing seminars, and games/prizes. Also, college fishing teams will be on hand with information regarding what the local colleges have to offer. The show will boast national and local sponsors and vendors and it’s free to the public.

This is a family-centered team event, with two angler teams representing their respective high school’s Student Angler Federation club; there’s no limit on teams and it’s not too late to enter. However, anglers must have completed the 8th grade but not have entered into freshmen year of college.

This event is unlike anything the fishing industry has ever seen and dotted with industry “firsts.” Each team will be allowed a five fish limit per day and the field will be cut to the top seven teams on the final day, which is nothing new. However, this event was built with unlimited growth possibilities to handle 500 or even 1000 team in years to come and it designed to be the premier event in High School Fishing. A anticipated week in summer for family vacation and tons of fishing, scholarships, prizes and merchandise, along with the honors of being titled World Champions for both the anglers and their schools. An education component requires two quizzes, one on boater safety/ethics and one on conservation\ invasive species. Based on test scores, anglers can earn up to three bonus ounces per test to be added to their total weight. (2 tests/angler can add 12ounces/team max). One of the tie-breakers, should it be needed, will be the teams combined cumulative grade point average. Starting in 2011, a minimum GPA will be required.

The winning team will be offered a prize unprecedented in the sport. A $4,000 scholarship, renewable for 4 years and a spot on the Collegiate Bass Fishing Team will be offered to both team members of the winning team from the Bethel University Wildcats in McKenzie, Tenn. That’s over $32,000 in scholarships offered to the winning team. “As the first college in America to offer scholarships for bass fishing, Bethel University, is very proud to join TBF in an ongoing commitment to promote both high school and College Bass Fishing. Bethel University has received overwhelming national publicity for its efforts with this new program and we look forward to a long relationship with TBF in this endeavor,” Bethel University’s Head Bass Fishing Coach, Gary Mason, stated. “High school fishermen are a great part of the future of the sport and we’re very proud to be involved with TBF and the High School Fishing World Finals. Bethel University would like to say congratulations to all of the high school fishermen across the country that will be competing in this extraordinary event.”

The Bass Federation Inc., (TBF), is the oldest and largest, organized grassroots fishing organization in America and proudly partners in fishing with FLW Outdoors. TBF is 100% member owned. We are “Owned by those it serves and dedicated to the sport of fishing”. TBF affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 fishing, youth and conservation events at the local level each year, and have provided the foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 40 years.

For more information about The Bass Federation or the Student Angler Federation, visit www.bassfederation.com or www.HighSchoolFishing.org or call the TBF National Office 580.765.9031.