ANDERSON, S.C. — A record field of high school anglers competed in a B.A.S.S.-sanctioned tournament trail event Oct. 15 at Lake Hartwell.
The Palmetto Boat Center High School Tournament was made up of 243 teams.
“The Green Pond Facility at Lake Hartwell was built to host the 2008 Bassmaster Classic, and the largest tournament ever to previously blast off from that landing was 208 boats,” said Marty Walker, tournament director and owner of Palmetto Boat Center. “We blew that away.”
The South Carolina boat dealership has been operating high school tournaments for three years, and this is the second year its tournament trail has been associated with B.A.S.S.
“It works great to be able to work with B.A.S.S.,” Walker said. “It gives the kids a chance to advance to another level from our tournament trail.” Top competitors qualify for Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship.
“These student anglers are the future of our sport,” Walker said. “We need more tackleboxes and fewer Xboxes. There is no substitute for time spent outdoors and memories that are created on the water. It is simply amazing how much a little green fish will make a young person smile.”
Randy Vaughn, South Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation youth director, says the South Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation high school program has found “a friend and partner” in Walker and his high school trail.
“I sat down with Marty two years ago and discussed his willingness, along with several high school coaches and boat captains, to start a high school bass fishing trail,” Vaughn said. “Little did we know that this would bring an explosion of interest and participation for our program.
“I am very thankful for not only Marty and the high school coaches and boat captains but also Sarah Chabaane of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for their steadfast support to the advancement of our sport,” Vaughn continued.
For the second year in a row, the York County High School team of Britt Myers Jr., son of Bassmaster Elite Series pro Britt Myers, and Tanner Maness won the Lake Hartwell event with five bass weighing 12.08 pounds.
The Palmetto Boat Center trail consists of six regular-season tournaments with three in the fall and three in the spring. The first tournament of the 2016-2017 season drew 202 teams at Lake Keowee. The Abbeville High School team of Drake Boyd and Chandler Ellis won the season opener with 10.24 pounds.
For more information about the Palmetto Boat Center High School Tournament Trail, call Walker at 864-561-2026.