High School Elite Experience offers unique opportunity

DECATUR, Ill. — Scores of high school students will have a chance to rub shoulders with and learn fishing techniques from some of the world’s best professional anglers in the Bassmaster High School Elite Experience, to be held Saturday, Sept. 22.

The event is free to students in grades nine through 12. It is part of the Bassmaster Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, Sept. 20-23, in Decatur, Ill., and it’s intended to instill in youngsters a passion for fishing.

“The Elite Experience in Decatur will give these students a chance to see many aspects of bass tournament fishing as B.A.S.S. makes its first-ever visit to the Decatur area,” said Jerry McKinnis, co-owner of B.A.S.S. and a popular television fishing show host and producer. “Along with the four-day All-Star competition, there will be plenty of activities for the kids, including special seminars on fishing crankbaits, soft plastics, finesse tactics and more — all presented by Bassmaster Elite pros and geared toward high school anglers. Meeting the pros and learning from them will be a truly memorable experience.”   

The All-Star competition itself will be exciting for the youngsters and their families, as well as other fishing fans. It features 12 of the top bass anglers in the world competing for a $100,000 prize purse. The field includes the Top 8 competitors in the season-long Bassmaster Elite Series, along with four “fan favorites” selected through online voting at Bassmaster.com. Related activities include a special Hope For The Warriors fishing tournament for wounded veterans, a college bass fishing tournament, concerts and more.

Introduced during the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament Trail, the Bassmaster High School Elite Experience will be a regular feature of Elite events in 2013. According to Jon Stewart, senior manager of B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and head of the high school program, “These kids will have a chance to talk to the top pros, ask questions, and see B.A.S.S. tournament operations behind the scenes. That’s a real thrill for them, and the anglers like to encourage them to keep fishing for the love of the sport. We have fans that stand in long lines just to get autographs from these expert bass fishermen. The high school students will have the opportunity to actually learn from the sport’s greats.”

“This High School Elite Experience has had a very positive impact when we have held it in the past,” McKinnis said. “We’re expecting record attendance from Illinois students at our postseason tournament, and we look forward to expanding the program to include more young people in 2013.”

The High School Elite Experience will begin at 9 a.m. and will continue through weigh-in at Nelson Park in Decatur, Ill. For information or to register, contact Jon Stewart at [email protected] or call 205-313-0900.