CELEBRATION, Fla. — Bass fishing's future stars will borrow the spotlight from the 50 2007 Bassmaster Classic pros on Feb. 18 when they compete in the fourth annual Junior Bassmaster World Championship on Alabama's Logan Martin Lake.The following week the Classic contenders will be on nearby Lay Lake in pursuit of the $500,000 top prize and the most important title in competitive fishing. But before that, they will be teaming with the next generation of Bassmaster Elite Series pros in a competitive one-day tournament with scholarship money and significant prizes at stake.Champions will be crowned in two age divisions: 11- to 14-year-olds and 15- to 18-year-olds. A participant from each age group will join one of the Classic pros during the competition. During competition, time on the trolling motor is split between each of the participants.Each champion will win a fully rigged Triton/Mercury bass boat and $27,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded to the top competitors and state Federation Nation chapters. A Walt Disney World experience will also be provided to the champions."It's an event that continues to grow, and to see how far it has come in just four years is really amazing," said Stacy Twiggs, senior manager of the Federation Nation and youth programs. "The Federation Nations across the country have done a tremendous job to establish these youth programs."
This is truly a unique sporting event when the younger generation can participate with the upper-echelon athletes in a championship competition."The 89 youth anglers qualified for the Junior World Championship through a competitive process that begins at the Federation Nation club level.The Championship field will include four international anglers. Two representatives from South Africa and Ontario highlight the field. Jack Kidd, an 18-year-old senior at Glenbrook Academy in Minden, La., is one of the young competitors who has an eye on making a career in professional fishing.
"I've always watched the Bassmaster Classic, but I never thought that one day I might be hanging around with the pros," Kidd told the Shreveport Times. "Just the thought of it is exciting for me. This is as far as you can go at my level."The pros, JWC competitors and their families will attend a parings banquet at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel on Friday, Feb. 16. SportsCenter commentator Jay Harris will serve as a guest speaker at the banquet.
Logan Martin is located on the Coosa River just upstream from Lay Lake. The weigh-in and launch activities for the Junior Bassmasters will be held at Lakeside Landing RV Resort & Marina in Pell City, which is 20 miles east of Birmingham. Weigh-in will start at 1 p.m.Fishing fans can get autographs from the Classic pros following the weigh-in on Sunday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Lakeside Marina.The Junior Bassmaster World Championship is an offshoot of the Bassmaster CastingKids program, which began in 1991. On Feb. 24, more than $20,000 in cash and scholarships will be up for grabs at the CastingKids World Championship.Twelve competitors who compete in one of two six-angler age divisions, 7-10 and 11-14, have a shot at the top spot. The contestants qualified last month at the CastingKids semifinals, which were held in conjunction with the Federation Nation National Championship in January 2006.