The Bass Federation (TBF) and FLW will host a Student Angler Federation High School Fishing Open on the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven, Fla., February 9. The tournament held in conjunction with the Walmart FLW Tour stop in Clewiston, Fla., offers high school anglers the chance to meet the world’s top professional anglers and experience the thrill of FLW Tour competition while testing their own bass-fishing skills against their peers.
The High School Open is a two-person (team) event for students in grades 9-12. It is open to students from any state. Registration for anglers and their coach, who will provide and drive the boat from which they compete, is open online at HighSchoolFishing.org. Participation is free for all Student Angler Federation Members. Students who are not yet SAF members will pay a $25 membership fee that includes eligibility to fish SAF tournaments at no charge; insurance coverage for students and their bass-fishing club, school and volunteers; advancement opportunities from local and state events to national events offering scholarships; a digital subscription to FLW Bass Fishing magazine; access to free online fishing education courses; and much more.
On-site check-in will be held 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, February 8 at the FLW Tour Expo located at the Clewiston Walmart, where students and their coaches will be treated to a cookout and seminar conducted by FLW Tour pros. The rules meeeting will follow the FLW Tour weigh-in. All teams are encouraged to register online at HighSchoolFishing.org in advance of the on-site check-in to avoid a late registration fee.
“We’re thrilled to bring open events to many FLW Tour stops this year, including the one in Clewiston,” TBF National Youth Director Mark Gintert said. “Bringing high school anglers to FLW Tour events gives them a great opportunity to see what the professional level of our sport is all about. It’s an experience that can’t be matched.”
The top three teams from each SAF High School Fishing Open held in conjunction with an FLW Tour stop this season will advance to a High School Fishing conference championship along with the top 10 percent of each state championship field. The top 10 percent of each conference championship field will then advance to the High School Fishing National Championship coinciding with the TBF National Championship and an FLW Tour stop in the spring of 2015. The High School Fishing national champions each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice.
“High School Fishing provides students with a connection to their schools and an opportunity to explore their passion for the outdoors in a new and exciting way,” FLW Vice President of Operations Dave Washburn said. “It allows students to apply science, technology, engineering and math skills acquired in the classroom in a real-world scenario that is unique in high school athletics. It’s a win for the students, a win for the schools and a win for the future of fishing and conservation in the United States.”
All SAF members nationwide automatically qualify for the world’s largest high school bass tournament, the 2014 High School Fishing World Finals. At the 2013 World Finals more than $40,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded. Visit HighSchoolFishing.org for details.
A unique SAF tournament feature is its angler testing component that expands the educational opportunities at each event. This year’s angler testing comes from TBF’s new online program with Faculty of Fishing. Students simply go to HighSchoolFishing.org, click “Online Education” then enter their SAF membership number and zip code to access the Faculty of Fishing site, which offers a variety of online courses covering a wide variety of fishing topics.
“Angler testing and education is an industry first by TBF,” Gintert said. “We built education into the foundation of the entire program when we began our partnership with FLW. For only $25 per year, these young anglers have opportunities unlike anything the industry has ever seen.”
Sign up: Register online at HighSchoolFishing.org or a $25 late-registration fee applies to those registering on-site. This fee is in addition to the annual $25 SAF membership fee for participants who are not yet SAF members.
Check-in: Saturday, February 8 at the Clewiston Walmart FLW Tour Expo between 2-3:30 p.m. Check-in is manditory and will be followed by a manditory rules meeting following the FLW Tour weigh-in at 4 p.m.
Takeoff & Weigh-in: Sunday, February 9 at Alvin L. Ward Senior Memorial Park in Moore Haven. Takeoff starts at 7 a.m. Weigh-in starts at 2 p.m. Tournament waters will be the Caloosahatchee River from the Rim Canal lock at Moore Haven to the Franklin Lock. The Rim Canal and Lake Okeechobee will be off-limits due to the FLW Tour event taking place on those waters.
Recognition of Top Finishers: The top three High School Fishing teams will be recognized on the FLW Tour stage in Clewiston at 4 p.m. as part of the Tour’s final weigh-in and nationwide FLW Live broadcast.
Logo courtesy FLW Outdoors