BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S. announced this week that it will be adding a Junior Bassmaster Division to its annual slate of events in the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series.
High school tournaments are scheduled for Lake Hartwell in Anderson, S.C., on March 2; Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Ala., on March 30; Norfork Lake in Mountain Home, Ark., on April 28; and Lake Shasta in Redding, Calif., on May 11. A field of up to 50 junior division teams will compete in each event with accompanying coaches or team captains.
“This is another aggressive step toward giving more young people a chance to fish competitively,” said Hank Weldon, B.A.S.S. senior manager for college and high school. “More parents are realizing that children who fish often avoid a lot of the more harmful aspects of our culture — and by creating a division for second- to eighth-graders, we’re helping parents start them out even earlier.”
Another new feature for the high school circuit will be maximum field size of 250 boats.
In addition to the announcement of the high school schedule today, B.A.S.S. officials unveiled the schedule for the 2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops. That lineup includes stops at North Carolina’s Lake Norman on Feb. 21-23; Smith Lake in Cullman, Ala., March 21-23; Bull Shoals Lake in Mountain Home, Ark., April 25-27; and the St. Lawrence River in Waddington, N.Y., June 20-22.
Unlike past years, when college tournaments were only open to anglers from corresponding regions, all events will be open to competitors from across the country. Teams will still accumulate points during the season toward an overall Team of the Year title.
“Our hope is that every college angler who wants to compete will now have a chance,” Weldon said. “You’re not limited to fishing a certain conference or region. If you want to travel to any one of these events — or all of them — you’re free to do that.”
Dates for the high school and college championships, as well as the annual College Series Classic Bracket, which qualifies one outstanding college angler for the Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, will be announced at a later time.