The Seminole Junior Anglers were represented in one of the largest and most prestigious high school tournaments in the nation this past month, the B.A.S.S National Championship. This tournament was a culmination of 300 of the nation’s best high school teams on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee. The teams of Dylan Westhelle and Joey Bloom and Bryce DiMauro and Davis DiMauro represented the Seminole Junior Anglers and were well prepared to compete against the top teams in the nation. The SJA teams arrived early to take full advantage of the practice days prior to the tournament, and worked to figure out if deep-water ledge fishing or shallow fishing were going to be the best methods of catching the fish for the tournament. The anglers worked tirelessly for the week prior to the tournament, spending long days on the water that consisted of grueling heat, and tough fishing conditions.
After a solid practice for both teams, they both felt well prepared for day one of the two day tournament. The team of Westhelle and Bloom were able to grind out 5 keepers on day 1 which was a strong showing compared to the rest of the field. The team came to the scales after day 1 with a solid bag of 12.11 lbs., which was good enough for 14th place. The Dimaruo’s found day one to be tough, only being able to walk across the stage with one keeper for 2lbs. Day 2, which was the all important cut day, brought even tougher conditions. The stingy fishing conditions brought the both teams many bites; however they both struggled to catch a keeper. The DiMauro’s were able to catch one keeper, where the team of Westhelle and Bloom were unable to yield a keeper fish. With a two day total of almost 12.11lbs, it was good enough for the team of Westhelle and Bloom to finish in 52nd. Thank you to our sponsors and supporters who helped make it possible for these four anglers to take part in this tournament, and most importantly to the boat captains who made the journey from Florida to Kentucky with their boats to allow these kids to fish.
I would also like to take the time to thank all of the sponsors, supporters, anglers and parents for these last 6 years of competition with the Seminole Junior Anglers Organization. When starting the organization 6 years ago, I had no idea that high school bass fishing would explode in the manner that it did. It has been a great experience to be a part of. At the conclusion of this season, I will be taking a step back from leading the Seminole Junior Anglers, and will be handing it over to Dave DiMauro. The organization will remain in great hands and will continue to grow. There is no doubt that the organization will continue to dominate in the high school landscape in Florida and USA.
We would also like to remind everyone of our upcoming season and would like to say thank you to all of our sponsors, including Orlando Coastal Angler Magazine and Instant Insurance for sponsoring this article and allowing us to share the accomplishments and experiences of these high school anglers.