High School Fishing Lake Okeechobee – The Marion County Youth Bassmasters duo of Brett Pearson of Gainesville, Florida, and Erik Van Dyke of Ocala, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the 2017 FLW/TBF High School Fishing Lake Okeechobee Challenge tournament on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. The win advanced the team to the 2017 High School Fishing National championship, held June 27-July 1 at Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama.
A field of 61 teams competed in the no-entry fee tournament, which launched from Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston. In FLW/TBF High School Fishing competition, the top 10-percent of teams competing advance to the High School Fishing National Championship.
The top six teams on Lake Okeechobee that advanced to the 2017 High School Fishing National Championship were:
1st: Marion County Youth Bassmasters – Brett Pearson, Gainesville, Fla., and Erik Van Dyke, Ocala, Fla., (five bass, 20-8)
2nd: Sebring High School – Briar Napier, Lake Placid, Fla., and Kyle Mercer, Sebring, Fla., (five bass, 20-1)
3rd: Fort Meade Middle-Senior High School/George Jenkins High School – Tyler Bazemore, Mulberry, Fla., and Shane Schmucker, Lakeland, Fla., (five bass, 18-3)
4th: Bartow High School – Trenton Coleman, Lakeland, Fla., and Connor Seay, Bartow, Fla., (five bass, 17-2)
5th: Okeechobee High School – Jorden Reyna and Parker Choate, both of Okeechobee, Fla., (five bass, 16-12)
6th: Creek Wood High School, Charlotte, Tenn. – Daniel Cheshire and Steven Mills, both of White Bluff, Tenn., (five bass, 14-1)
Rounding out the top 10 teams were:
7th: Sebring High School – Dalton Hooks, Sebring, Fla., and James Pearson, Lorida, Fla., (five bass, 13-13)
8th: Forest High School – Brad Powell, Ocala, Fla., and Austin Dodd, Silver Springs, Fla., (five bass, 13-12)
8th: Okeechobee High School – Kenny Whaley and Hunter Sills, both of Okeechobee, Fla., (five bass, 13-12)
10th: Okeechobee High School – Blake Everett and Alexandrea Fulford, both of Okeechobee, Fla., (five bass, 13-11)
Complete results from the event can be found at HighSchoolFishing.org.
The 2017 FLW/TBF High School Fishing Okeechobee Challenge was a two-person (team) event for students in grades 7-12, open to any Student Angler Federation (SAF) affiliated high school club in the United States. The top 10 percent of each Challenge, Open, and state championship field will advance to the High School Fishing National Championship. The High School Fishing national champions will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice.
In addition to the High School Fishing National Championship, all High School Fishing anglers nationwide automatically qualify for the world’s largest high school bass tournament, the 2017 High School Fishing World Finals, held in conjunction with the National Championship. At the 2016 World Finals more than $60,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded.