ROGERS, Ark. — When Reese Jones of Rogers, Ark., received notice that he had been selected as one of 12 members of the 2017 Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, he was ecstatic. Winning the honor meant he would be able to fish with a Bassmaster Elite Series pro during a special tournament in conjunction with the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Then his mother, Cheri, broke the bad news. “I pointed out that Reese’s graduation was the same weekend, and of course he couldn’t go to the tournament. At that point, both he and his father dropped their forks and said that he had to go to Texas.”
Cheri was outvoted, and her son spent part of graduation weekend fishing Lake Naconiche, a trophy bass fishery near Nacogdoches, Texas. As a compromise, Cheri Jones acquired a cap and gown for Reese to wear as he crossed the weigh-in stage at the George H. Henderson Jr. Expo Center Saturday. He would only wear the cap, though.
“There’s no way he would cover up his All-American jersey with a gown,” his mother said.
Through a random drawing, Jones was paired with Elite Series angler Brett Preuett, a former Carhartt Bassmaster College Series champion and GEICO Bassmaster Classic qualifier.
“I really learned a lot from Brett. It was a blast,” Jones said. “It’s a huge honor. I was an All-State member my sophomore year, and I really wanted to be an All-American. It was God’s way of telling me, ‘You’re not ready yet.’ A couple of years later, I made All-American, and I really feel like I’m ready. It’s been a huge honor, and I’m really thankful for B.A.S.S. and the Elite pros for putting this on.”
The 12 student anglers were selected for All-American honors by judges who reviewed more than 380 nominations from 40 states.
A senior on the Rogers High School Bass Team, Jones has tallied an impressive four wins in the past 12 months. Jones also chalked up 10 other Top 10 finishes, including four second-place showings at events on Beaver Lake and Lake Tenkiller.
Jones is the three-year president of his bass fishing team and is a member of the National Honor Society, DECA Leadership Team and the F.C.A. He has been awarded the Kansas State University Purple and White Leadership Scholarship and the Buck Family Foundation Local Scholarship, and he plans to pursue a business degree.
“‘Service Above Self’ could very well be Reese’s personal motto as he has accumulated over 200 hours of community service through his church and school outreach projects,” wrote DECA Advisor Tom Woodruff.
Read more about the Bassmaster High School All-American anglers on Bassmaster.com and look for their profiles in the September/October issue of Bassmaster magazine.