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Entries in youth fishing (23)


Better Bass Fishing Is About More Than The Know-How That You Accumulate; It's About What You Pass On

With the remaining hot dogs consumed, we spread out our sleeping bags and relaxed, ready to watch the meteor showers that were predicted for after midnight.

We talked about bass fishing and building fires and other “guy things” until the first fiery arrow streaked across the sky. The wattage of the moon probably stole much of the light show from us. But we counted a dozen or so before Ursa the Devil Dog cuddled up to Jesse. He put his head next to hers and both slept the sleep of the innocent.

As I watched for more of nature’s fireworks, I thought about another child, decades before, and how lucky he was to know generous adults who made the time to take him fishing.

My father didn’t fish, but a co-worker of his did, and he took me frequently to a farm pond. One fall day, a 3-pound bass exploded under my Hula Popper, a moment frozen in time that still causes my heart to pound when I recall it.

And there were others: A neighbor took me fishing in a boat for the first time. A family friend invited me along on an overnight camping and fishing trip. I’ve been fishing thousands of times since then, but those generous acts still are as vivid in my mind as the day they happened. I feel the sun as it warms the orange lifejacket that I wore. I look down and see the purple worm with the propeller harness tied to the line on my Johnson spincast reel. I smell the coffee brewed over a fire and see the mist at sunrise on the tailwaters of Bagnell Dam.

I hope that Jesse will have the same type of memories of our trips when he is an adult. And, when he comes of age, I hope that he will share the sport that we both love with someone new.

You should do the same. Better bass fishing is about more than the know-how that you accumulate. It’s also about what you pass on.

Once upon a time, fathers did a good job of doing that. In a survey of anglers, 67 percent said that their fathers took them on their first fishing trips. But 87.8 percent of those respondents were age 35 or older. Of those under 35, just 12.2 percent said that they were taken by their fathers.

“If dad has a diminishing role in introducing new anglers today, and others don’t step in, how will fishing be passed to future generations? And how will those who miss out even know what they’ve missed?” asks the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, which sponsors Anglers’ Legacy, an angler recruitment program.

Without participation, without a strong constituency, we will lose it all: funding for fisheries research and management; access to lakes, rivers and oceans; an innovative industry that constantly improves our boats, tackle, and equipment.

As my eyes grew heavy, the meteors faded as the eastern sky lightened and a hidden sun painted delicate clouds a soft rose. I slept, but only for a few minutes. The angler in me would not allow for more.

I woke Jesse in time for the topwater bite.

Excerpt from "Tonight and Tomorrow" in Better Bass Fishing, available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Help These Great Organizations Take More People Fishing

With the start of the "giving season" on Nov. 28, I hope that you will consider contributing--- money, products, and/or your time--- to the many great organizations devoted to taking people fishing, especially those that focus on the young, the old, and the disabled, as well as veterans.

Remember that the world would be a much better place if more people fished and you can help make that happen.

The following are three of my favorites:

This Idaho-based organization helps spread the word about the joys of fishing through its Bass-Mobile, piloted by founder Howard Davis.

"Taking kids fishing is more fun than I've ever had in my life," he said. "With kids you don't have to deal with politics or anything else. It's just fishing."

Fishing's Future is headquartered in Texas, with an emphasis on fish camps for families and the following objectives:

  • Reconnect kids to nature
  • Reconnect kids to family and strengthen family relationships
  • Teach Environmental Stewardship and Increase awareness for the protection, conservation and restoration of our Nation's aquatic natural resources
  • Increase participation in recreational angling

The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation is the country's largest charity, with a focus on children with special needs and military personnel.

"Through a joyful day of fishing, kids, their families, and community volunteers come together for an explosion of fun and inspiration. C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation hosts annual fishing and boating events across America to fulfill our mission of providing populations with special needs the opportunity to enjoy a quality outdoor recreational experience fishing on the water."

You also can find these organizations on Facebook.

Kids First Cast, Inc.

Fishing's Future

C.A.S.T. for Kids



Bassmaster High School Series Expands in 2018; College Series Gets New Format

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops and the Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods schedules were announced today with intriguing updates for 2018.
The High School Series has been expanded to four Opens in 2018, and the Bassmaster College Series will showcase a new format enabling college bass fishing teams to compete in a national tour comprising four tournaments and the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.
Through this year, a college team could only compete in the event within their regional “conference,” plus a wild card qualifier that gave anglers a second chance to reach the national championship. The 2018 college tour will consist of Central, Eastern, Western and Southern events — providing higher-payout incentives and more opportunities to qualify for the 2018 College Series National Championship.
The College Series tour will begin Jan. 25-27 at the Central qualifier on Toledo Bend Reservoir, Louisiana, which was recently ranked fourth in the Central Division of Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes for 2017.
“Toledo Bend Lake Country/Sabine Parish Tourist Commission/Sabine River Authority are looking forward to hosting the Bassmaster High School and the Bassmaster College Series on Toledo Bend during the 2018 season,” said Linda Curtis-Sparks, director, Sabine Parish Tourist Commission. “We are excited about having these young anglers to our area. We feel that they represent the future in the fishing industry, plus they will be here during a prespawn period for our lake, so the weights could be record setting. It is going to be fun!”
From there, college anglers will travel to the Southern event hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau on Pickwick Lake, Alabama, April 19-21.
“We are super excited to be hosting the 2018 Bassmaster College Series in Florence, Ala.,” said Suzie Shoemaker, manager, sport/event sales at the Florence/Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. “College anglers bring fantastic economic impact to our community, and we look forward to having them back!”
Cherokee Lake, Tennessee, will be the third fishery on tour at the Eastern event on May 10-12 — the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, Tenn. will be the host. And finally, anglers will head west to Clear Lake, California, May 23-25, where the tournament is hosted by the Konocti Vista Resort & Marina.
In addition to the four tour events, the Bassmaster College Series will also partner with the B.A.S.S. Nation to hold state-qualifying tournaments. Anglers will now be able to compete for a berth in the national championship through their respective state’s event — formats will vary.
All tour events will be open to any college or university interested in participating. Teams can attend all four Opens and the state qualifier if they chose to do so.
Also new this year, anglers will vie for the opportunity to become the 2018 Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year. Each of the tour’s three-day events will feature point system scoring, based on field size, allowing anglers to compete for the title, cash and prizes.
The goal for the restructure is to allow anglers five opportunities — the four tour events and a state-qualifying event — to compete for a berth in the national championship and a shot at becoming the Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year.
“The college demographic continues to change and evolve,” said B.A.S.S. College and High School Series Senior Manager Hank Weldon. “We want to continue to offer a series that accommodates all college anglers, whether that be a team who can compete in a multievent tour or anglers who can only travel to a state-run event. The 2017-18 competition year should be really exciting to watch.”
Much like the College Series, the 2018 Bassmaster High School Series will now feature four Opens events — Central, Southern, Eastern and the new Western Open.

The High School Opens will continue to be one-day tournaments with a briefing and sponsor greeting held the night before competition. However, also new this year for the High School Series are up-to-the-minute competition updates.
“The one thing we hear from parents and fans watching the coverage on is that they would like to know where their teams stand throughout the competition,” Weldon noted. “In 2018, we are launching BASSTrakk on each team’s boat for all High School tournaments — fans will be able to follow their teams closely on the water at each event.”
The kickoff event will be Jan. 28 at the High School Series Central Open on Toledo Bend Reservoir, just one day after the first College tournament. Toledo Bend Lake Country will be the host for this event, as well.
From there, teams will travel to Lay Lake, Alabama, for the Southern Open on March 24 hosted by Visit Shelby County, Ala.
Visit Anderson, S.C., will host the Eastern Open and third stop for the High School Series on April 14 on Lake Hartwell, which is also the fishery for the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods slated for March 16-18. The final regular-season stop will be the Western Open at Clear Lake, California, on May 2 also hosted by the Konocti Vista Resort & Marina.
High school teams in each of the four Opens will be competing for berths in the Bassmaster High School Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The dates and location of that event will be later announced.
To view registration dates for both college and high school tournaments, and for more information on the Bassmaster College Series state-qualifying events, visit
2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops

Event Title                             Lake                                   City                            Date            
Central Tour Event           Toledo Bend Reservoir   Many, La.                  Jan. 25-27     

Southern Tour Event         Pickwick Lake              Florence, Ala.             April 19-21

Eastern Tour Event          Cherokee Lake            Jefferson City, Tenn.      May 10-12     

Western Tour Event           Clear Lake                  Lakeport, Calif.            May 23-25
2018 Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods

Event Title                          Lake                                       City                                Date             
Central Open                   Toledo Bend Reservoir         Many, La.                   Jan. 28

Southern Open                  Lay Lake                         Shelby County, Ala.      March 24       

Eastern Open                    Lake Hartwell                    Anderson, S.C.            April 14         

Western Open                   Clear Lake                         Lakeport, Calif.            May 26                      


Arkansas Offers Grants to Help Youth With Habitat Projects

A new program encourages young competitive anglers to help improve fish habitat in Arkansas' aging reservoirs.

“We want to promote the idea that all anglers are stewards of our aquatic resources,” said Jason Olive, Assistant Chief of Fisheries Management for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (GFC). “By getting these young tournament anglers involved in habitat projects, we want them to be a part of working with us from the beginning of their competitive angling careers.”

Youth tournament organizations affiliated with junior high, high school, and colleges can apply for an award, ranging from $500 to $1,000 to offset costs of building and sinking habitat.

“Most of Arkansas’s reservoirs are at least 40 to 50 years old,” said Colton Dennis, GFC Black Bass Program coordinator. “And some were cleared of trees for timber before the lake was flooded. What woody cover and vegetation were left have gradually decayed, which reduces the amount of complex habitat available in our reservoirs.”

Complex habitat not only gives anglers places to key on for fishing, it’s beneficial to the fish. Smaller species, such as baitfish and young predator fish, hide among the dense cover for protection. In many cases, algae and other bits of organic matter on the cover provide food for baitfish as well. Larger fish also use the habitats, but as hunting grounds. They find ambush points around the cover and wait to nab smaller fish that venture too far away from the safety of thicker cover.

“In lakes that have aged to the point that much of the original cover is gone, man-made brush piles can fill that role,” Dennis said. “The GFC has worked with many different materials to create reservoir habitat enhancements for many years.”

He added that those who want to participate in the program should check with the owner/manager of the fishery before adding habitat. "There are a few lakes that do not allow natural brushpiles because they are water supply reservoirs," the biologist explained. "But some may allow PVC structures to be placed if you go through the proper procedure and work with them. A quick call to your local fisheries biologist can help you figure out your options."

Funds from the award program can be routed through a team's account at its school, and officials there should be listed as the contact person for the grant proposal. Applications are available on the GFC website.


Alabama Duo Wins Bassmaster Junior Championship

HUNTINGDON, Tenn. — Heading into the second day of the Bassmaster Junior Championship, Miller Dowling and Chandlar Hollingsworth knew they needed a couple of bites from big bass.

The boys from American Christian Academy in Tuscaloosa, Ala., were in seventh place after the first round of the tournament on Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake and trailed the leader by nearly 7 pounds. To account for the difference, they needed a lot of skill and likely a little luck.

They got both during the final day of fishing on Wednesday and came from behind to win the national championship bass tournament for young anglers 7-13 years of age.

Dowling and Hollingsworth weighed the heaviest limit of the tournament with five bass that totaled 16 pounds, 9 ounces. That gave them a two-day total of 10 bass that weighed 25-12, and that was enough to push past Rein Golubjatnikov of the Rochester (N.Y.) Junior Bassmasters for the victory.

Golubjatnikov, who led after the first day of competition with 15-13, finished second overall with a two-day total of 23-12. Jordan Sylvester and Jacob Tullier of the Southwest Louisiana Junior Bassmasters were in second place after Day 1, but slipped to third with 21-5 total.

Dowling and Hollingsworth were a tough act to follow on Wednesday. Each angler caught a bass that weighed more than 6 pounds, and the shared success paid big dividends. Both anglers won a $1,000 scholarship for the victory, not to mention championship trophies and national bragging rights for the year.

The 6-pounders both were caught on a green pumpkin shaky head worm in about 15 feet of clean water. The team fished only two spots the entire tournament.

“After Miller caught the second big fish, we said ‘We’re going to win this,’” Hollingsworth said.

But the day didn’t start so swimmingly. The boys thought they had the big bite they needed when Dowling hooked a bass they estimated to weigh in the 9-pound range within the first five minutes of angling time.

“We knew it was a big one right away,” Hollingsworth said. “We got him straight to the boat, but the hook came out. We were depressed — but later on, we had the first 6-pounder I caught on a shaky head, then we had some smaller 1-pounders. When we moved to our other spot later on, Miller caught another 6-pounder. I thought we were going to have only one big bite all day, but it got better and better.”

Dowling said the team was fishing old ditches that crease the bottom of the man-made 1,000 acre lake. They found their honey holes in practice, and they decided to stick with them in the tournament.

Dowling and Hollingsworth finished eighth in last year’s junior championship by catching nine bass that weighed 7 1/2 pounds total in 2016. That prompted them to select new spots this year, which turned out to be a decisive factor.

“This is like nothing ever before,” Hollingsworth said. “I’m shaking. We caught the first fish, and we knew needed one more. When we caught it, we were confident.”

Still, the eventual victors were among the first teams to weigh-in on Wednesday, and sitting in the hot seat for the majority of the day was a daunting task. Dowling and Hollingsworth literally sweated out the remainder of the 51-team field in the Tennessee summer heat to see if they’d finish on top. When the Louisiana duo of Sylvester and Tullier posted only 6-4 on Day 2, the Alabama tandem felt a bit of relief.

And when Golubjatnikov posted a second day total of 7-15, they finally could breathe easily.

“We got more nervous the closer we got to the end,” Dowling said. “But now, it feels great.”

Golubjatnikov caught his big bass by dragging a Carolina rig on the first day. His legs sunburned badly on Tuesday, and he was in pain on Wednesday, said his dad and boat captain Ken Golubjatnikov. Still, to fish solo in a national championship event and to fare so well was a feat in itself. He won a $1,000 scholarship, too, which didn’t have to be split with a teammate. School ends this week in upstate New York, and Golubjatnikov took his exams early knowing he would fish alone in the national championship.

It was the third consecutive year he qualified for the tournament. He finished seventh in 2016.

“To finish second in this tournament this year is a really great feeling,” he said.

Waupaca (Wis.) Junior Bass Busters teammates Reece Keeney and Bryce Moder finished fourth with a two-day total of 18-12. Bradlee Parish and Tyler Guin of the Monroe County (Miss.) Youth Bassmasters finished fifth with 16-9 overall.

Teams from 28 states and Canada participated in the junior championship. Each earned the right to compete in the championship through B.A.S.S. Nation qualifiers in their respective states.