Halden Smith, 16, of Missoula is an experienced young outdoorsman. He says he will probably help guide hunters for elk and deer later this fall in his home state of Montana.But two years ago, he discovered another outdoor sport.
"A friend at school told me about a bass club he belonged to, so I joined," Smith told BASS Times."I had done a little bass fishing over the previous three years, but when the club had a tournament on nearby Noxon Lake and I won it, I was hooked. Now I study bass fishing wherever I can find information: in magazines, television and the Internet."
Smith's self-education paid off during the 2008 Junior Bassmaster World Championship (JWC) on New York's Onondaga Lake Aug. 10, where he competed against 92 other anglers from 43 states and two foreign countries for college scholarships and other prizes.The JWC is part of the Federation Nation's Junior Bassmaster program. To compete in the JWC, anglers fish in a series of qualifying events at local, state and divisional levels in two separate age brackets, 11-14 and 15-18.At the 2008 championship, anglers from each age group were paired with a Bassmaster Elite Series pro who spent one day of practice as well as the single competition day with them in his boat. While the pro could provide instruction and guidance in practice, he served only as a boat driver during the tournament itself.
Winners in each age division at Onondaga won $5,000 college scholarships as well as fully rigged bass boats.
For more information about the JWC program, contact either Stacy Twiggs or Don Corkran at BASS at 407-566-2277.
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