In case you haven’t noticed the last couple of years, high school bass fishing has become a big deal. It just got a whole lot bigger for two local anglers. Gage Struben & Hagen Carter representing West Ouachita High just won the Central Division Championship in the TBF Jr World Championship tournament. That qualified the local teens for the final five-team shootout for the overall title and they came in second in the event on Mosquito Lake in Cortland, Ohio. Congratulations to these young men and all the folks that supported them to get there, as well as to all the young anglers who are making the sport better with their participation. TBF is one of several tournament circuits that give high school anglers a chance to compete on a state, local and national level.
Struben & Carter led the Central Division on Day One, then had a two-day total weight 20.06 pounds to win the Central Division title. That pitted them against the other division winners. Quite an accomplishment at the scales and also on the water representing the Northeast Louisiana High School Anglers group with their character and sportsmanship. Cody Miller and Ryan Steinhoff of the Southern Colorado Jr. Bass Club won the overall title.
Here are the Championship Day results:
The event was held July 29, 30, 31 on Mosquito Lake in Trumbull County Ohio. The event featured a two-person team format and three days of competition. The TBF Junior program includes all anglers 15 years old or under as of Aug. 31, 2020 who fished through their home state federation’s Junior program to qualify. Only the top Junior team from each state is invited to attend.
Several of today’s top pro anglers started in the TBF Junior program. A few examples are; Jacob Wheeler (IN) fished the 2006 JWC; Shane Lehew (NC) won the 2007 JWC, and 2017 Forrest Wood Cup winner Justin Atkins (MS) in the 2008 JWC. More recently, 2020 TBF Federation National Champion Living The Dream angler Lance Freeman (KY) started out by fishing the TBF Kentucky Junior program.