When 85 of the country’s most talented young anglers gather this weekend for the inaugural Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Combine in Decatur, Ala., they will be showcasing their skills for championship-caliber college coaches in a series of three skills challenges.
“College coaches have told us time and again that it’s hard to judge high school anglers based on tournament results, so each of the three skills tests at the High School Combine was designed to create a fair method to compare the skills and techniques of the anglers,” explained Hank Weldon, senior manager of the B.A.S.S. College and High School program.
Each of the three disciplines — Casting Distance, Knot Tying and Casting Accuracy — will operate on a point system and be timed by an official judge. Each angler will accumulate points to determine an overall winner.
Anglers will have three casts from a platform on a B.A.S.S.-provided Abu Garcia rod and reel combination in the Casting Distance challenge with the judge scoring their longest cast. Moving on to the Knot Tying discipline, anglers will showcase their technical skills by tying one line-to-lure knot and one line-to-line knot in the allotted time. Anglers will be scored on both knot accuracy and strength. In their third Casting Accuracy skills test, anglers will earn points for hitting a series of targets using B.A.S.S.-provided equipment.
The participating anglers are ready to take advantage of the level playing field to see how they stack up against other anglers in hopes of reeling in college offers.
“Fishing is a sport of constantly changing circumstances, conditions and variables,” said Kyle Smith, a senior from Richland, Md. “Every high school angler has a very unique set of skills and circumstances that are not always easy to see and recruit during a fishing tournament. However, this event allows anglers to show their skill, talent and passion to college coaches in a way that a regular tournament does not allow.”
In addition to the three skills challenges, Day 1 will be spent meeting with college coaches. After the first day, colleges will have the opportunity to select anglers for a “second look” where they can further explore everything that angler has to offer and see if they would be the perfect fit for their fishing program.
Only colleges offering bass fishing scholarships were invited to attend, and coaches from 20 schools will be on-site recruiting during the inaugural Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Combine.
For more information, visit Bassmaster.com/high-school.
2021 Bassmaster High School Combine Title Sponsor:Abu Garcia
2021 Bassmaster High School Combine Supporting Sponsor: Mossy Oak Fishing
2021 Bassmaster High School Combine Partners: Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bajio, Dovetail Games’ Bassmaster Fishing 2022, the Official Video Game, Toyota
B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), TV show, radio show, social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship, Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX, Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.