By Ken Jackson
Harmony High School’s Bailey Chisholm and Cole Depuy only needed to finish in the top five of the Feb. 26 FLW TBF High School State Fishing Championship in Palatka.
The Osceola Anglers representatives did one better — they won the whole thing.
Chisholm and Depuy caught 17 pounds, 5 ounces on a five-bass limit on the St. Johns River that cold, windy morning to claim the state championship. They now advance to the 2017 High School Fishing National championship, held June 27-July 1 at Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala.
A field of 57 teams competed with the top 10 percent of teams competing advance to the nationals.
The High School Fishing national champions will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice. In addition, 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.
Cole Thompson and Nick Cora, also of Harmony, who qualified for last year’s national tournament through the state tournament, will also compete at the World Finals.
Osceola Anglers formed in 2014 to create opportunities for high school students to compete in the tournament-style fishing experience, and to help flourish the interest of Sportsmanship, Leadership and Character Building in today’s youth. The Non-Profit 501c3 organization is open to all High School Students, both boys and girls, who reside inside Osceola County.