High School Series takes center stage

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Ronnie Moore

MANY, Louisiana – Cheers for the college anglers who competed earlier this week on Toledo Bend Reservoir may be still ringing through Cypress Bend Park when the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors takes center stage today.

A total of 172 two-person teams from a dozen different states will compete in the one-day event. The top tandems will earn cash prizes for their high school bass fishing teams and berths in the high school national championship also will be awarded. That title event will be held later this year, though the date and location have yet to be announced.

The high school teams were scheduled to take off beginning at 7 a.m. today from Cypress Bend Park. Weigh-in is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Top competitors in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series event presented by Bass Pro Shops had some hefty largemouth bites the past three days, and that could continue today. There were two 20-pound limits caught Saturday and the Carhartt Big Bass Award went to Stevie Mills and Baylor Howell of Bethel University who caught a 7 pound, 8-ounce heavyweight on Thursday.

Bethel teammates Cody Huff and Dakota Pierce won the college event with an impressive three-day total of 60 pounds, 7 ounces.

The high school anglers won’t reach that total in only one day of competition, but tournament director Hank Weldon said the famed fishery certainly is capable of giving up a 20-pound sack or a couple 7-pounders on Sunday.

The derby on Toledo Bend is the first of four regular-season stops scheduled in the 2020 Bassmaster High School Series. Additional tournaments will be held at Smith Lake in Alabama on March 1 and Cumberland Lake in Kentucky on May 9. Another high school event is scheduled for June 20, and a multi-day national championship will take place later this summer too. Neither location has been announced.

The first Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Junior Series tournament of 2020 also will take place today at Toledo Bend. Sixteen boats are entered and anglers hail from a handful of southern states.

The young anglers will have their own national championship later this year, and they’ll have regular-season stops at Smith and Cumberland lakes, as well as an undisclosed location for the fourth tournament of 2020.

Juniors will weigh in at 1:30 p.m. today at Cypress Bend Park. Follow them, and the high school anglers, live on Bassmaster.com.

The Bassmaster events at Toledo Bend this week are presented by the Louisiana Office of Tourism, Toledo Bend Lake Country, the Sabine River Authority, Desoto Parish Tourist Commission and the Vernon Parish Tourist Commission.