Tolle and Hale, 2018 High School Fishing World Finals Champions

Ponca City, Okla., – July 2, 2018  – The TBF Student Angler Federation, (SAF) along with our partners in fishing at FLW hosted the 9th Annual High School Fishing World Finals June 26-30 on Pickwick Lake.  The most prestigious high school event in the country lived up to the hype crushing records in attendance, number of contenders and participating states.  Over $150,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded with a field consisting of 384 teams from 35 states. This is the fourth year the HSFWF has been hosted by the Florence-Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala.

The 2018 High School Fishing World Finals Champions, Jeremy Tolle and Garrett Hale, from Kiefer Trojans High School in Oklahoma  brought in a limit of bass weighing 23 pounds 9 ounces to claim the esteemed titles, scholarships, and prizes.  They walked away with a $28,000 a year for four year scholarship award to the top ranked college fishing program in the country, Bethel University.

In addition to $56,000 in scholarships, the champions each received a $250 Cabela’s gift card, nearly 6ft tall World Finals trophies and 50 inch flatscreens and more.

“It’s still crazy.  It’s almost like it hasn’t set in yet every time I look at the trophy or anything that brings it up it just blows my mind away,” Tolle said.  “My partner and I drove my dad’s truck home by ourselves, about 9 hours.  He was worried the whole way home if we were awake or had enough energy.  But, we kept telling him every time we got tired we would just talk about it and get all excited again.”

Tolle and Hale definitely had reasons to celebrate.  They came from 55th place on day one to be named 2018 World Champions.

“I’m pretty estatic; I’m still on cloud 9 right now,” Hale said.  “I mean it was just crazy because when it happened it sat in real fast.  On the way home we just kept talking about it and redoing it over the whole week.  I mean we didn’t even think we had a chance.  But, on the way home the part that set in was that the decisions we made, they were the right ones.”

At the banquet with all the trophies set out on stage the shiny golden fish on top was about 10 ft taller then the team as they walked by and the team’s boat captain, Jeff Tolle, said they were going to get one of those.

“We took it serious, we really wanted to have it sure,” Hale said.  “But, it was kinda like a  joke at the same time – I mean there were 384 boats.  Our accomplishment was making day four and just trying to get to the top 30; I guess everything went right for us.”

The same trophies at the brut of the joke now have homes in Tolle’s living room right next to their TV and Hale’s bedroom.   Hale’s Mom re-decorated his room while he was at the event and now there’s a perfect spot for it.  It’s as if Mom knew to make room for it.

“Of all the prizes that 6ft tall trophy was THE winner,” Boat Captain, Jeff Tolle, said.  “I’ve been around fishing my whole adult life and I was really blown away with the tournament.  I thought you guys rolled out the red carpet for those kids. It was a great experience.

The pinnacle to Jeremy is being a college angler and I think that your event really helped get them ready for what it’s going to look like,” Tolle continued.

“I thought the prizes for college were really cool, and the recognition they got, talking to them on stage, feeding them, it was all just really well done.  It’s a cool format.  I mean, that’s a legit, big-time, national- level (format) that’s what it’s like.  Let them experience it.”

Coming in second was Gerald Brumbaugh and Hunter Klotz of the Central HS Dragons team from Martinsburg, Pa.  The team had limits of 12 pounds 15 ounces and 13 pounds 4 ounces after two tournament days.  But, with 26 pounds 3 ounces the team sat in 39th.  They kept cutting away at the lead and on day three and tied for 15th with a limit of bass weighing 16 pounds 14 ounces.

“We started out throwing dropshots the first day but we found out that it really caught small fish, but then we switched to a spoon and a big Carolina Rig and  that really seemed to get the big largemouth outta the bunch,” Brumbaugh said.

On the final day, the duo brought 19 pounds 14 ounces to the scales with a largemouth beauty knocking the scales at 7 pounds 1 ounce. “We caught it right away actually it was our second fish at about 8 o’clock,” Brumbaugh said.

Brumbaugh and Klotz had success all week throwing the spoon and the Carolina Rig; but, the spoon helped them land the 7 pound 1 ounce kicker.

“You really just had to grind it out, work the baits slow and trust the Carolina Rig,” Klotz said.  “Yeah, and you really had to work that spoon hard that’s what ‘Gerry’ did all week.”

Third place team, Cort Walker and Lawson Tighten from the Hardin Co HS Tigers in Counce, Tennessee were awarded the $20,000 a year for four year scholarship to Bethel University for being the second highest finishing Junior/Senior eligible team.  But, turned out the team already had eligible scholarships to Bethel University and so they passed the award to the fourth place finishers.

A little bit of shock and awe from fourth place finishers, Luke Mchan and Black Cobb, as they accepted the $40,000 scholarship offer.  The Fanning Fishing Club from Blue Ridge, Georgia had a limit of bass weighing  17 pounds.

Fifth place team, Jerren Gieske and Austin Clanton, from the Lawrence Co Wildcats in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., had a limit of bass weighing 16 pounds 3 ounces.



Top 5 teams  in the world standings:

  1. Jeremy Tolle – Garrett Hale, from Kiefer Trojans, Kiefer, Oklahoma

2. Gerald Brumbaugh – Hunter Klotz, from Central HS Dragons,  Martinsburg, Pennsylvania

3. Cort Walker – Lawson Tighman, Hardin Co HS Tigers, Counce, Tennessee

4. Luke Mchan – Blake Cobb,  Fanning Fishing club, Blue Ridge, Georgia

5. Jerren Gieske – Austin Clanton,  Lawrence Co, Wildcats., Lawrenceburg Tennessee

The final day weighin was presented by our sponsor partners at LIVE Target, St. Croix rods and Tournament Trail Ink.  

SAF sponsors include Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Lowrance, Evinrude, Motorguide, FAVORITE fishing, Lew’s, Rapala, Live Target, Navionics, BlackFish Gear, Okuma, Faculty of Fishing, St. Croix, BOOYAH, the Pursuit Channel, MOVEU Apparel Berkley, VMC, Quantum, Eagle Claw TroKar, iCatch, TH Marine, Tournament Trail Ink and, of course, SAF’s longtime partners in fishing at FLW.


Mckie and Champy Crowned 2018 National Champions on Pickwick; 31 Teams Advance to the Final Day of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals

Florence, Ala., – June 29, 2018

The 2018 National Championship being held in conjunction with the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., concluded today.  The winning team received a $10,000 scholarship for their efforts and will advance to the final day of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals.  This week over $150,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded plus double the sponsor swag and giveaways.  Today, a record-breaking crowd was attendance to witness the crowning of the 2018 National Champions, Kyler Mckie and Chad Champy.

The victors held on to their lead by merely four ounces with a limit of bass weighing 19 pounds 12 ounces making their tournament total 57 pounds 10 ounces.
George Rogers Clark Cardinals, Hunter Redman and Avery Brown, finished second bringing a limit to the scales just one ounce away.  The team caught 19 pounds 11 ounces for a tournament total of 57 pounds 6 ounces.  Both teams will be amongst the top 10 National Championship qualifiers to advance to Saturday’s finale with one goal in mind – claiming the most prestigious titles in high school fishing, 2018 High School Fishing World Finals Champions.

Mckie and Champy found one of Pickwick’s sweet spots and have been grinding it out from day one.  “We are just going to do the same thing tomorrow,” the team said.  “I don’t think we are going to have a real good day tomorrow but we are just going to go out there and try out hardest to get a good bag.”
Winning the titles by ounces wasn’t the only circumstance on their sides.  The two caught their last bass with about three minutes to spare and it measured 15 and an 8th inch, just barely over the line.  “It’s still unbelievable, we’re so thankful to be here,” the team commented on the news of their national title win.
“We had two fish out in about 15 minutes, two keepers, and they really came in big time for us,” Mckie said.  “I’ve been fishing this tournament for a couple years and been doing a bunch of nothing. It is great to finally get my name out there.”

As the win settles in, Mckie and Champy must now set their sights on tomorrow’s prize for all the glory.  The weights will be zeroed and 30 accomplished anglers stand in the way.

Redmond and Brown have been on their heels by ounces and are thirsty for redemption.  Both the Semi-Final contestants and the Second Chance round anglers were hungry today, as well.  Forty-nine limits and four bags over 20 pounds were caught between those brackets.

First place Semi-Finalist, Kyle Bahr and Tyler Bahr from the Brainerd Warriors caught a five bass limit weighing 20 pounds 14 ounces while Second Chance Round leaders, Hunter Bailey and Kallie Jolly, from Cherokee County High School caught a limit weighing 20 pounds 3 ounces.

Tournament big bass honors went to the team of Nick Dotson and Graidon Hensley competing in the Second Chance round  and landing a 7 pounds 13 ounce lunker.  As well as, the Semi-Finalists, Camden Slone and Caleb Hurt with 6 pound 13 ounce bass.
To say that anything can happen tomorrow would be an extreme understatement.

One team will separate themselves from the pack and along with nationally recognized bragging rights, that team will receive a $24,000, four year scholarship award if eligible to the top ranked college fishing team in the country, Bethel University, plus their choice of some lucrative prizes.  The second place finishers will also receive a $20,000, four year scholarship award if eligible to Bethel University.

All 31 teams competing tomorrow will receive a trophy and their choice of prizes in order of their finishes.

Today’s weighin was sponsored by SAF sponsor partners, Rapala, VMC and Sufix.  The Senior Night Pizza party was sponsored by FAVORITE fishing who supplied each graduated Senior a brand new FAVORITE fishing rod.

Tune in tomorrow at for live event coverage and the Student Angler Federation Facebook page for event photos and updates.  Takeoff is at 5:30am from McFarland Park and weighin begins at 1:30pm.  The event is free and open to the public.


A Shifting Pickwick Changes the Tide on Day Two; McKie and Champy Seize the Lead

Anglers battled tirelessly to land bites on day two of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship on Pickwick Lake.  Yesterday’s cloud cover and constant current all but disappeared altering the bites, fishing patterns and standings.  Some struggled to adjust while others got in step.  Over half of the teams sitting in the top 10 were not there yesterday and 77 teams that blanked on day one brought their first catch to the scales proving the field is wide open.

 Yesterday’s second place team was among the few to hold their own in the standings.  Kyler Mckie and Chad Champy from the North Augusta Fishing Team pulled ahead with a tournament total of 37 pounds 14 ounces.  The pair had 23 pounds 9 ounces on day one and 14 pounds 5 ounces today.  “Yesterday we got on a real good spot but today was definitely a little rougher,” McKie and Champy said.  “Didn’t think we’d end up pulling through; definitely, better than I thought.”
Today, they returned to the same honey hole in hopes of another healthy bag.  Although, the lack of cloud cover didn’t affect their bite other conditions did.  “This morning we pulled up and got some good fish early, but then later in the day the wind helped push the current along and they started pulling more water, which made it a little tough on us.  We weren’t finding as many bites or quality fish.”
This is McKie and Champy’s first trip at the High School Fishing World Finals event and they’ve only pre-fished the lake a handful of times.  The duo won the South Carolina State Championship on Lake Murray to advance as National Championship qualified anglers.  So, tomorrow their sights are on those titles.
“The goal for us right now is to have a really good day tomorrow and win the National Championship,” the team continued.  “Then, we will worry about the rest when the time comes.”
This event consists of four days of competition one day at a time is the ultimate strategy, and as the standings can attest anything can and will happen as teams set off from McFarland Park in Florence, Ala., for day three of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals.
Day two’s weigh-in was sponsored by the Student Angler Federation’s sponsor partners, Okuma and Blackfish.  Several anglers walking across the stage were randomly given Okuma product and up to $100 Blackfish gift cards.  And although severe thunderstorm warnings in the area threatened the day, the storms held off until its conclusion. Day three continues tomorrow as the National Champions will be crowned and 31 teams advance to Saturday’s finale.