The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with FLW Outdoors, and the Wisconsin Bass Federation, hosted the inaugural Student Angler Federation Wisconsin and Iowa High School Fishing State Championship Saturday, August 27 on the Mississippi River at St. Feriole Island Marina Boat Launch, in Prairie du Chien, Wisc. The state championship was a two person team event for students in grades 9-12. Several teams came to compete to be named the first ever high school fishing state champions of their states.
Registration was held Friday evening at Cabela’s in Prairie du Chien. Guest speaker Dr. Phil Moy of the Wisconsin Sea Grant Project talked to the high school anglers and boat captains about fisheries and invasive species prevention.
With the river conditions changing dramatically, having dropped five feet in the last two weeks fishing was tough. But beating the tough bite, Kyler Chelminiak of Whitnall High School and Nicholas Peterson of Lakeland High School brought in a limit of bass that weighed 13.23 lbs to be named the
Wisconsin High School Fishing State Champions. Kyler and Nicholas were also the highest finishing Certified Student Angler team and were awarded with a bag of fishing equipment from the Wisconsin Bass Federation. The team also caught the big bass, which awarded them a Rod and Reel combo that was donated by Cabela’s of Prairie du Chien. The state champs started morning fishing zara spooks in balls of shad that the bass were feeding on, then fished Lilly pads and duckweed with Mann’s Super Frogs and Frankentoads. Kyle was the 2009 WI Bass Federation junior state champion and is currently the 2011 WBF junior champion. “I would like to thank his sponsors – Mann’s Bait Company, Uncle Josh, Ironclads, Brovarney Baits, Denali Rods and the Spring Lake Inn,” Kyler stated. This was Nicholas first ever fishing tournament.
Wisconsin 2nd place team was Ronald Waite and Kason Morley of Adams Friendship Green Devils. They brought in 5 bass that weighed 12.5 lbs, just ¾ of a pound from the state champions. 3rdplace team was Matthew Zingler and Luke Emery of
SE Wisconsin High School. They caught 5 fish that weighed 11.24 lbs.
Alex Steffes and Drew Rodgers of Kennedy High School in Iowa, were named the Iowa High School Fishing State Champions. They also brought in a 5 fish limit weighing 9.09 lbs. Iowa state champs caught most of their fish on a frog in Lilly pads and duckweed. Both state champs were awarded beautiful trophies and a Cabela’s gift bag.
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 October. 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/Certified Student Angler” 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 Mike Simonds, president of the Wisconsin Bass Federation, Adam Barnard, WI Youth Director, Cabela’s, City of Prairie du Chien 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.