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The Inaugural High School Fishing Academy

Posted by brian on June 22, 2015

Deion and Partner HSFA.jpg

The first High School Fishing Academy is officially a wrap.    Going into it, I honestly had no idea how many teams’ we would have.  I was thinking we might have only two teams show up or as many as fifty.  For our inaugural event, I was definitely overwhelmed by the turnout.  Through strictly social media advertising we had about twenty five to thirty high school and college teams show up on Friday night.  To put things into perspective, the registration for the tournament on Saturday was from four to six.  By five forty five we had not a single team in the building.  Soon thereafter, we had one team trickle in, then two, then it was like somebody flipped a switch and we had teams lined up in the parking lot.


Touring Pro’s, Mark Daniels Jr. (FLW Tour) and Jordan Lee (Bassmaster Elite Series), along with local Pro Paul Gettys were all nice enough to give their time and help out with the event.  There are a lot of things all of them could have been doing and the fact that they took the time to help out with the event shows what kind of guys they all are.


Along with Pro angler’s, we had a few industry people that stopped by to help teach on Friday as well.  John Hair from Greenfish Tackle and Cinnetic Reels were there to teach the high school and college angler’s about the business side of the sport.  A lot of other companies donated some excellent products for giveaways and prizes.  I was very proud that Rat-L-Trap and Hi-Seas provided enough product that every kid was able to go home with some.  Other companies that were great supporters included: Booyah, Hunter’s Headquarters, Keel Guard, and Fitzgerald Rods.  All of them provided us with great prizes and giveaways too.

Rat-L-Trap HSFA.jpg

My sponsor FatSack Outdoors and I partnered up on the whole thing and put on a fishing tournament for everyone on Saturday.  Just like Friday, we had a great turnout.  On the college side of the tournament my little brother, Deion and his partner Baylor won the event with 15.70 lbs.  For the high school side Noah Pescatelli of Kickin’ Bass TV won with around 15.40 lbs.  There were a lot of fish caught and I was impressed by the weights.  Those weights would be close to the same in a local weekend tournament, so these kids definitely know how to catch some fish on Lake Hartwell.

Overall, this all was a tremendous experience.  It ended up being more work than I anticipated with so many moving parts, but well worth it.  I really appreciate all of the Pro’s, companies, high school and college teams that made the first High School Fishing Academy a success.  I’d also like to thank Lakeside Middle School for letting us host the event there.  There were a lot of parents that stuck around until ten o’clock on Friday which was great to see.  I can’t say when the next one will be, but I can definitively say there will be a next one.  Either this fall or early next spring we’ll be having another High School Fishing Academy so stay tuned.  We might even be going somewhere like Guntersville or Toledo Bend.

As for now, I’m thinking about some tournaments myself.  The first Bassmaster Northern Open at the James River is coming up in only a few weeks and I’m dying to get there.  It’s been too long since my last one at Seminole and I’m excited for another go at the Northern circuit. This should be a tough event, but from what I’ve read, it should suit my style of fishing well.  This will be my first experience fishing on tidal water so I’m excited.  I’m looking for a good start to the season to keep the Elite Series invitation a possibility.