NORTH LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) - North Little Rock will be host the inaugural Arkansas Student Angler Federation High School State Bass Fishing Championship in April. The event will bring high school students from across the state to central Arkansas to compete for the state crown.
Ron Duncan, a commissioner with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says he is looking forward to the event. "It is gratifying to me that the state which hosted the very first professional fishing tournament, and a state that has been a national leader and model for kids fishing programs, is now hosting the first two high school championships," Duncan said. "We think this is a wonderful opportunity to get students involved with the great sport of fishing and the enjoyment of the wonderful outdoor opportunities that our state has to offer."
Students and parents may go to HighSchoolFishing.org for details on joining the Student Angler Federation and signing up for an event. Cost is $25 a year and includes full The Bass Federation and FLW Outdoors member benefits, including unlimited access to the all-new FLW Outdoors Magazine e-Edition and insurance coverage for students and their clubs.
The winning two-person team from each state championship will advance to an FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing Regional Championship held in conjunction with a National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championship on a college campus this fall. Ranger boats will be provided for the high school anglers to fish from at each regional championship, and the winners from each regional will advance to the FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing National Championship on a college campus in conjunction with the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship in spring 2012.
All SAF members and state championship participants automatically qualify to fish the largest event in high school fishing, the 2011 High School Fishing World Finals, July 20-23 in Russellville, to compete for thousands of dollars in college scholarships and prizes. Each team that qualifies for a regional championship and the national championship will receive a travel allowance to help offset expenses. The High School Fishing National Championship winner's each will receive a $5,000 scholarship to use at the university of their choice.
If you're not an SAF member, there's a $25 per angler entry fee for the state championship, which includes full TBF and FLW Outdoors membership benefits. The one-time fee covers SAF events for one year.
"We're very excited to be working with the fine people in North Little Rock, commissioners from the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission, as well as the Arkansas TBF Federation to help bring this event to a state so rich in bass fishing history," said TBF National President. "It's groups like these and our affiliated state federations that are the backbone of the industry; they're on the ground doing the work to put on this event and give high school anglers in Arkansas a chance to grow their skills, have some fun, compete to advance, and get involved with other programs the Arkansas TBF Federation has to offer."
"High school anglers in Arkansas are fortunate to have the Arkansas TBF Federation well established in this state and eager to help with this event, which promises to be a great one," said TBF National Youth Director, Mark Gintert. "Our Student Angler Federation has a great start in this state with several Arkansas students participating last year in our High School Fishing World Finals held right down the road in Russellville. I'm sure they're ready to show everyone in the state how far they've come as anglers."
All participants may take a free online test at HighSchoolFishing.org about boater safety, conservation and angler ethics, which makes 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," Gintert said. "The Federation is driven by our desire to promote education through fishing. The testing component is designed to do exactly that. When you put this package together with our partnership with FLW Outdoors, the sky is the limit for these young anglers. They'll have opportunities unlike anything the industry has ever seen."
Mandatory Check-in: 4 p.m.-6 p.m., Friday, May 6, Riverfront Park, Locust Street Pavilion in North Little Rock. Rules briefing at 6 p.m.
Takeoff and Weigh-in: Saturday, May 7, Riverfront Park in North Little Rock, 6 a.m. take-off; weigh-in at 2:30 p.m.