2012 high school fishing world final returns to Lake Dardanelle
By Ronnie Weston| March 8, 2012 at 5:42 PM CST - Updated June 26 at 5:21 PM
RUSSELLVILLE (AGFC) – High School anglers near and far will come together again at Lake Dardanelle State Park, July 15-21, for the 2012 High School Fishing World Finals.
Last year, over 600 attendees made up of high school anglers, family members and sponsors enjoyed the opening ceremonies to kick off a week-long family vacation with tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship prizes on the line.
Russellville is excited to host this tournament for the third year, and looking forward to another group of young people that love to fish, Russellville Tourism Director, Christie Graham said. "Russellville hosts many tournaments each year, but enjoys getting to invest in young people's lives that have a passion for the outdoor world of fishing. We are excited to see what growth this year will bring."
High school teams are made up of any two high school anglers who have graduated the 8thgrade but have not yet started college and who have a 2.0 GPA. All anglers must be Student Angler Federation members or join at the time of registration for only $25 a year. SAF membership comes with a full list of benefits, including no entry fees to any SAF event all year. Any high school team meeting these requirements may register and attend, even if they are home schooled. Teams bring their own boats and their own coaches/boat captains. Teams are required to have an adult coach/boat captain in their boat with them at all times. The coach who provides the boat must be a resident of the team's home state/province or country, an immediate family member, or in very limited situations, a volunteer boat captain/coach may be provided by TBF. Anglers are not allowed to "hire" or "choose" a local coach and the tournament waters are off-limits, when designated, to all anglers and coaches so everyone starts fishing at the same time no matter where they live.
Events are scheduled all week starting with the first official practice day Sunday, July 15. Tuesday evening is the coaches/boat captain's appreciation jackpot on a neighboring body of water for the coaches to get their fishing "fix" as well. Wednesday, July 18 is the official registration and opening ceremonies. Thursday, July 19 will bring the first official tournament day, with weigh-ins at Lake Dardanelle State Park, as teams from across North America will start their journey to become champions. All weigh-ins will be taped for television and be streamed live on the internet. All high school anglers will compete for the first two days. Then, the field will be cut on Saturday. The final day of competition not only will see the top teams go head to head with complete run of the lake, but also the rest of the field will be invited to fish a one of a kind consolation round event. There is no entry fee and the complete payout structure is in the form of prizes and scholarships. The 2012 High School Fishing World Championship team will each walk away with the grand prize of a four year, $5,000 per year, renewable scholarship to Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn., in addition to other prizes.
"The High School Fishing World Finals is the largest tournament of its kind; it's a low cost, family fun vacation with a full week of activities," TBF National Youth Director, Mark Gintert, said. "We're excited to return to Russellville and Lake Dardanelle State Park, which provide a perfect setting for this event. It's centrally located right off I-40, a great fishery, and the cooperation we receive from our local partners is tremendous," Gintert added.
"This event is more than just a tournament, it's a great way to promote education through fishing," TBF President, Robert Cartlidge, stated. "Our Student Anglers are required to have a 2.0 GPA and take a free test on angler ethics, boater safety and invasive species to participate. This highlights the importance of education and being good stewards of our waterways, habits TBF want to instill in the future of our sport," Cartlidge continued. "Our Student Angler Federation is growing in record numbers with teams forming all across the country, and this event offers everyone a chance to fish in a world class event in a fun, family atmosphere."
The Bass Federation Inc., is the oldest and largest grassroots fishing organization in America. TBF is owned by those it serves and is dedicated to the sport of fishing. TBF annually conducts over 20,000 fishing, youth, and conservation events and has provided the foundation for the bass fishing industry for over 40 years.
For more information about The Bass Federation, visit bassfederation.com or call 580-765-9031. For full details and more information about the Student Angler Federation and this year's high school world finals, visit highschoolfishing.org or call 580-765-9031. Registration opens online at highschoolfishing.org March 1.