BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S. has jumped into the high school bass fishing arena with a high school program culminating in a national championship.
The new high school program will be an addition to a modified Junior Bassmaster program with the individual state B.A.S.S. Nations handling junior bass clubs for anglers younger than 14 years old and hosting B.A.S.S. High School State Championships. In the new Junior Bassmaster format, the program for the younger kids will be weighted toward education and fun family-oriented activities, while the high school program will place more emphasis on competition, according to Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Nation Senior Manager.
“The only difference in the programs is the competition factor and the fact that high schoolers can advance to the divisionals and the nationals but the junior kids will not,” explained Stewart. “We want the juniors to focus on education, learning and developing and then when they get into high school we will focus a little more on competition just like they do in the other school sports.”
The Bassmaster Junior World Championship (JWC) will still be held this year with 11-14 and 15-18 age kids that qualified in 2012 allowed to fish as part of their state’s team in the 2013 divisionals. The first B.A.S.S. High School Championship (BHSC) will be held in 2014 with the Top 2 high school club teams from each state, province or foreign nation youth championship competing in the inaugural event.
“We are basically spending this year getting the word out and getting clubs affiliated with B.A.S.S., and then the way we envision it is state Nations will all run a state championship and any high school-affiliated club can fish that state championship,” said Stewart. “Some qualifying tournaments will start this summer and fall, and then the national high school championship is planned for summer 2014.”
“We are also going to have an open tournament July 20 for B.A.S.S.-affiliated high school clubs and any other clubs can come from across the United States,” Stewart said. The Top 8 teams from the tournament will be invited to compete in a high school exhibition similar to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series event during the Bassmaster Classic."