Florida youth battle it out on Toho

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Luke Farmer and Dustin Bozeman triumphed at the 2011 Florida B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Junior State Championship, Aug. 6 and 7, on Lake Toho, and the two young anglers are now gearing up to fish the 2012 Bassmaster Federation Nation Southern Divisional presented by Yamaha and Skeeter in spring.

Farmer captured the 11- to 14-year-olds age division by boating a total of 8.62 pounds, and Bozeman won the 15-18 age group with 23.99 pounds.

Florida boasts one of the largest Junior Bassmaster programs in the country, and it is one of the only states to make the Junior Bassmaster Championship a two-day event.

Farmer, an Okeechobee native, struggled on Day 1 but was able to hold own for the win. “I was nervous on stage, but it felt awesome and I couldn’t believe I won,” he recalled. “I didn’t think I had enough fish to win it.” Luke was awarded a Duckett Fishing rod and a Lew’s reel for his victory.

Bozeman, 16, didn’t have a strong Day 1 showing, either. But he decided to gamble and lock into Kissimmee Lake, where he had some big bites in practice. He patterned his tournament by throwing top water in the cuts and then flipping the grasslines.

“It felt pretty good,” Bozeman said after the event. “This was my first state championship, so I was excited to get the win.”

“We couldn’t have done it without the parents and sponsors and especially the boat captains,” said Jeff Brooks, Florida B.A.S.S. Federation Nation youth director. “Toho Marine was also able to bring two boats out and set up a hot seat, which created a great atmosphere for the kids.”

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