You can see a pretty accurate picture of the future of bass fishing on the shores of Kentucky Lake in western Kentucky this week, and based on the view the future looks mighty bright.
Costa Sunglasses and FLW are partnering to host the inaugural Costa/FLW High School Fishing Summer Camp at Murray State University and Kenlake State Park. Participation in the event includes 125 high school anglers from 23 states, 50 parents and coaches, about 20 of the FLW Tour’s top professional anglers, the FLW tournament staff, and industry representatives from Costa, Bass Pro Shops, The Bass Federation, Lew’s, Strike King, Simms Fishing, Lowrance, Pure Fishing, Realtree, Ranger Boats and more.
The camp, which kicked off Wednesday evening with a banquet hosted by FLW Youth Director Scott Ellison and FLW Tour Weighmaster Chris Jones, runs through Friday evening. Yesterday, campers received an extensive care package of fishing tackle from FLW’s sponsors and other camp supporters in preparation for two days of fishing education.
Today’s activities include seminars on fish care, electronics, angler etiquette, summertime tactics, boat maintenance, social media and more.
Campers came from as far away as California and Oregon to participate. There’s a wide range of ages and experience levels, as well as a mix of boys and girls.
“The camp has been going very well, and the parents and students are excited with all of the gear and knowledge that they’re walking away with,” says Ellison, who is heading up the event. “The diversity of High School Fishing is what’s most exciting. When you look at the campers and adults we have here, it’s evident that fishing is reaching people of all backgrounds and interests. And that’s promising for the future of our sport that we can reach people from all walks of life through High School Fishing.”
Tomorrow, campers will split their time between the FLW operations department office in Benton, Ky., and lakeside venues. They’ll learn about career opportunities within the industry, in addition to more applicable fishing knowledge from the pros. While the student seminars are taking place, FLW is hosting additional classes for parents and high school coaches to prepare them to manage high school clubs, recruit volunteers and work with sponsors.
On Saturday, campers, pros and local anglers will participate in a Marshall Strong charity tournament to benefit victims of the January school shooting at nearby Marshall County High School.
This event is FLW’s first foray into a summer camp for high school anglers. Based on the interest and participation, it probably won’t be the last.
“The success of this first camp shows that there is a demand for educating our young anglers,” Ellison adds. “We certainly look forward to looking to hold more of these in the future.”
For more information on the Student Angler Federation High School Fishing program, visit highschoolfishing.org.