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High School Fishing Tournament Winners Receive College Scholarships

Oklahoma’s Kiefer High School juniors, Jeremy Tolle and Garrett Hale, recently took home scholarship prizes of $28,000 each to Bethel University after winning the 2018 The Bass Federation, Inc. (TBF) High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake in Alabama.

The High School Fishing World Finals was open to any High School Fishing team across the nation and was a four-day event with 348 teams competing. On the fourth day, only 31 teams remained. Tolle and Hale were determined the winners with the heaviest final-day weight of 23 pounds, 9 ounces.

High school fishing clubs like the one at Kiefer High School promote environmental responsibility, teach problem-solving, help develop leadership and build on lifelong skills. TBF Student Angler Federation is one of many organizations across the country aimed at getting students in the world of competitive fishing.

Like these after-school fishing programs, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has made a major commitment to educating youth on the sport of fishing. In 2011, the Oklahoma Fishing in the Schools (OKFITS) Program was introduced to 50 schools across the state. The OKFITS program is geared towards providing teachers with the training, curriculum and resources to use in the classroom for introducing students to the sport of fishing.

The number of schools participating in the OKFITS program has continued to grow, and 350 schools are now participating in the program.

Fishing is not the only outdoor skills program the Wildlife Department is providing; it is one of many Outdoor Education programs offered including Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools (OKNASP), Explore Bowhunting, Explore Bowfishing, Hunter Education and the Oklahoma Scholastic Shooting Sports Program. Hundreds of schools across the state are introducing outdoor skills in the classroom though the Department’s programs.

The OKFITS program is an excellent platform to introduce students to fishing. Teachers looking to get involved with the Wildlife Department’s Outdoor Education programs can visit the education page at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

An after-school fishing club, such as the TBF Student Angler Federation, is just the next step in getting students even more involved. Schools interested in starting an after-school fishing club can find information through either the TBF Student Angler Federation or the Oklahoma B.A.S.S. Nation and can reach out to the contacts below.

TBF Student Angler Federation: info@highschoolfishing.org.

Oklahoma B.A.S.S Nation Contact: Meleah Meadows mmead77@gmail.com.