The Teen Anglers Tournament Series has a problem, but it is a nice one to have.
During the high school bass tournament circuit’s last two events, the weigh-in site was overflowing from the field of competitors and the crowd of spectators. The Stockton tournament drew 83 teams from 21 Missouri high schools and with a large crowd of family and friends showing up to watch the weigh-in, the Crab Tree Cove access area was swamped with spectators and their vehicles.
Republic High School anglers Hunter Gill and Brandon Durr won the Teen Anglers circuit season finale at Table Rock Lake with a five-fish limit weighing 12.33 pounds.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers limited Teen Anglers to 35 boats to use the Mill Creek Access so Tournament Director Randy Conlon had to scramble around to find launch ramps and a weigh-in site to accommodate the field of 94 boats. He did a great last-minute job of coordinating the launches from various ramps and the take-off at Mill Creek, then holding the weigh-in at a church community center in Kimberling City. The community center had a huge parking lot for the weigh-in but it was filled beyond capacity with all of the tow rigs, spectators’ vehicles and a gathering of close to 300 high school anglers and fans.
So with the Teen Anglers field continuing to grow, the circuit will need to find larger access areas for the launches and weigh-ins next year. There are probably many tournament directors of adult circuits in the state that wish they had such a problem.
Congratulations to Cody Huff of Ava High School who has been awarded a scholarship to fish for Bethel University in Tennessee. Bethel is one of the powerhouses of college bass fishing and is coached by Gary Mason, a longtime guide on Kentucky Lake. Cody and his partner Colton Levan finished in second place in the Anglers of the Year standings for the Teen Anglers circuit. Cody fished solo in the Teen Anglers season finale at Table Rock and finished in second place. He has been mentored at Ava the last two years by four-time Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn. Cody was also the starting quarterback for Ava High and proved that high school anglers can fish for their school and still be active in varsity sports.
Kudos also goes out to the Hillcrest High School team of Ashley Ruggles and Garrett Moeller for winning Anglers of the Year honors in the Teen Anglers circuit. They were consistent throughout the year with Top 10 finishes in all three tournaments (third at Lake of the Ozarks, eighth at Stockton and eighth at Table Rock).
School of the Osage angler Joe Grafeman was one of 12 high school students to be selected for the first-ever Bassmaster High School All-American Team. The High School All-Americans were selected from a pool of 57 Bassmaster High School All-State anglers from 33 states. Judges reviewed tournament resumes, service activities and recommendations from coaches and school officials before making the selections. More than 200 nominations of student anglers in grades 10-12 were submitted for the inaugural All-American program. Joe and Kaleb Lewis of Hillsboro High School were the Bassmaster All-State picks for Missouri.
If you would like more information about how to start a fishing club at your high school, call me, John Neporadny, at 573/365-4296 (home) or 573/480-0631 (cell) or e-mail email@example.com.
Guest blog post by John Neporadny, an outdoor writer and youth fishing advocate.