UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Pickwick to Host High School Championships

Pickwick to Host High School Championships
Justin Shelton, Dakota Pfoh

It’s a double dip that made sense on multiple levels, so this week Pickwick Lake hosts the 2018 TBF/FLW Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship in conjunction with the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals.

These overlapping events will field two-angler teams, each with a boat captain responsible for vessel operation. TBF President Robert Cartlidge expects approximately 400 teams from 32 states in the U.S. and Canada, with invitations to international SAF members from countries including Mexico, Spain, Italy, Japan and China.

“The High School Fishing World Finals is the pinnacle event in high school fishing; it’s a come-one-come-all event, and we want all kids to have an opportunity to win a scholarship,” Cartlidge says. “So, that’s what started the entire program on a national basis.”

National Championship qualifiers earned their spots by finishing in the top 10 percent of any SAF-sanctioned event – TBF High School Fishing State Championships, Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Opens and SAF High School Fishing Challenge tournaments.

“As partners in fishing and world leaders in High School Fishing, FLW and TBF are proud to provide this unique opportunity for students to fish both the National Championship and World Finals simultaneously,” adds FLW Vice President of Operations Dave Washburn. “It means less travel and less vacation time for parents. It’s also a great opportunity for students to network with their peers from across the country.”

 

Format and prizes

The championships (details here) begin on Wednesday with two days of full-field competition for both events. The National Championship field is cut to the top 10 for day three, which is the final round of that tournament, and the winner is determined by heaviest three-day cumulative weight on Friday. Each member of the winning team receives a $5,000 scholarship to the school of his or her choice, and all 10 finalists automatically advance to Saturday’s final round of the World Finals. 

The World Finals field is cut after two days to the top two teams from each state. Those anglers compete on Friday (when weights are zeroed) in the semi-final round.

Any teams that missed the cut in the National Championship or World Finals will compete on Friday in a separate second-chance round for a shot at making it back into the World Finals competition on Saturday.

Saturday’s field will consist of the 10 National Championship finalists, the top 10 teams from Friday’s semi-final round, and the next 10 teams (highest day-three weight) from the semi-final round and second-chance rounds combined. A Friday night pizza party will include a Lucky Dog Last Chance Wildcard drawing for one team, not already qualified, to compete on day four – bringing the total to 31 teams. Weights are zeroed on the last day, and the World Finals winners are determined by the heaviest catch.

Both events have no entry fees, but competitors are required to be SAF members.

The two events will award approximately $150,000 in scholarships and prizes such as kayaks, big-screen TVs, Gameboys, PlayStations and dorm refrigerators. Top boat captains will receive prizes such as trolling motors and fish finders.

Competitors are required to present proof of a minimum 2.0 GPA at registration. Any participants falling short of this threshold will have an onsite option for competing.

“We will still let them compete, but we will hold any prizes until they get their grades up. If they don’t come up, the students don’t get their prizes,” Cartlidge says. “If someone shows up without a minimum 2.0 GPA, we will have a counselor there that will counsel them on their education and give them some homework that they have to complete and submit to us to show us that they are trying to get their grades up.”

Moreover, SAF offers a free online training resource, FacultyofFishing.com. Participants who bring proof of completion for the boater safety and aquatic invasive species course to registration will receive prizes at registration.

“The Student Angler Federation is not just about fishing; we make everything about an education,” Cartlidge adds.

 

Fishing forecast

Pickwick offers an ideal venue for this event because its size can accommodate large fields, plus competitors are allowed to lock into Wilson Lake for additional space.

Nearby FLW Tour pro Jason Lambert says he expects Pickwick to deliver in a big way. Ledge fishing will almost certainly dominate the scene, and he believes the high school anglers will enjoy plenty of opportunity.

“It’s ideal right now. It’s right at summer pool,” Lambert says. “Pickwick’s phenomenal. It’s a 100- to 150-fish-a-day lake right now.

“Current’s going to play a big factor. Traditionally, during summer on the Tennessee River, the current doesn’t move in the early mornings, and then around 9 to 10 o’clock they’ll turn it on. By lunch they’ll step it up again, and the afternoon’s when it’s running the hardest.”

Lambert expects the usual mix of crankbaits and swimbaits to produce, but he says the heavy fishing pressure will likely bring big worms and drop-shots into the picture. Despite Pickwick’s 43,100 surface acres and Wilson’s 9,045, Lambert says that crowding will prove challenging, as teams seek to locate isolated sweet spots along miles of ledges.

“Finding something that you can have to yourself; that will be golden,” he says. “It’s always about the spot on the spot. It’s all about the lineup and particular casts.”

The team that makes enough of those particular casts could wind up with a sizable chunk of its college tuition in the bank.

Tags: david-a-brown  article 

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