The premier High School Fishing event in the world is slated to be held June 22-25, 2022 in Florence, Alabama on Pickwick and Wilson Lakes. The 13th Annual High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship dual event is expecting another record field for this wildly popular event. SAF member teams from most US States and multiple foreign counties such as Canada, Zimbabwe, and South Africa are expected to attend and compete for a share of the richest prize pool in all of bass fishing. In 2020 and 2021 at the 11th and 12th annual events, the total scholarships and prizes offered up for grabs at this event was an eye-popping 3 million dollars.
On behalf of the Florence-Lauderdale CVB, we are excited to host the World Finals again in 2022.” Stated Tyler Dolan, Manager of Group and Sports Sales for Florence- Lauderdale CVB. “This is an event that our community is always looking forward to! We can’t wait to see you all on Pickwick Lake and in the Shoals soon!
The student anglers pay no entry fee to compete in this one-of-a-kind dual event, the World Finals portion is the granddaddy of all national High School events, and where the bulk of the prizes and scholarships are awarded, it is also the most difficult to win. The World Finals is open to any SAF member in the world, so everyone attending will be competing in the World Finals. At the same time on the dual-stage, the top 10% of High School teams from all SAF sanctioned events including MLF Open events nationwide in the last year are qualified to compete in a national championship event with its own set of prizes and scholarships that will top $500,000. So those National Championship qualified teams are entered into both events and have a chance at both prize pools all in one trip.
A high school team consists of 3 people to a boat, 2 High School anglers, and their adult boat Captain / Coach plus all the families and friends for both anglers in the boat will push the expected attendance to roughly 3000 people connected to this week-long event.
“We are excited to be heading back to Florence, Al.” Stated The Bass Federation’s President/CEO Robert Cartlidge. Florence “fits” this event as it has a great facility, a great fishery, and many things for the families to do while in the area and the anglers love it. From the start, neither TBF /SAF nor our partners in fishing at MLF, who was among the first to join our Student Anglers Federation (SAF) movement and grow it side by side with us, requires any entry fees for our regular High School events nor do we pay cash to kids at High School events. It is always prizes & scholarships. The result has been the explosion we currently see in high school fishing participation nationwide and it all adds up to a good wholesome experience for the kids and their families which is what we all want.”
From the Student Angler Federation standpoint as the founders of the national level High School fishing movement, high school fishing is not about being the next “pro angler” or getting sponsor patches on your shirt. Those all may or may not be by-products but the National High School fishing program was started for 3 simple reasons. First, to get youth into the outdoors with clean family fun, to live, learn in, and learn to respect the outdoors.
SAF’s purpose is to use fishing to get kids outdoors with adult mentors and family with the intent of not just educating them about common sense, manners, and ethics, but about math, science, and language arts and why those are important to fishing yes, but also to life in general. Secondly, SAF wanted to provide post-secondary education opportunities. Not just college, but trade/tech school too, as our country was built by and still needs trades and skilled craft people. College is not for everyone, especially in today’s college world. Education opportunities are what SAF is promoting. Three, SAF did not want the HS program to be about money, which is the reason why there are no entry fees and no cash paid to student anglers under this program all awards are prizes and scholarships.
The unique format of this dual event is credited with making it so successful and it was developed with feedback from the parents and families over the last decade. In a competitive arena as there is just no way around travel for the anglers, staff, and partners. It is expected in fishing, no different than national HS stick and ball leagues, cheer or dance team championships, or any other high school sports. The two events are conducted together as a dual event not just to save travel costs and vacation time but to make it a true family vacation where many HS teams can travel together, have fun, and any youth from any background anywhere has a chance to come and earn a life-changing educational opportunity if they can. All while experiencing the comradery of an event this size where lifetime friendships are made.
The popular four-day High School Fishing World Finals and National championship combined event format is a very unique structure where all anglers compete for three days in a format with a second chance round, much like any other double elimination High School sport. It is designed to keep everyone competitive and in the game until the final day cut. For full details, check out HighSchoolFishing.org. You can get your club affiliated with SAF and compete! All TBF, SAF and MLF High School Fishing events are no entry fee events. To register, anglers only need to be a member of the Student Angler Federation (SAF) which is a mere $25 per year and includes competitor SAF and MLF memberships. It is as easy as completing the online registration at HighSchoolFishing.org.