THOMASTON, Ga. — It may not have the same fan fare as football in the south, or even baseball and basketball. However, students in Georgia will now be able to compete in bass fishing.
Georgia has become the fifth state to offer high school fishing as a sanctioned sport, partnering with the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization and The Bass Federation (TBF), they announced this week.
It will become official during the 2020-2021 school year, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) said.
It will be a co-ed sport, and there is no designated season, allowing students to compete year-round in both GHSA-sanctioned events and non-sanctioned tournaments, according to a news release.
GHSA competition will include four state qualifying tournaments held in different parts of the state, beginning in January of each year, with a state championship to be held in March or April. The schedule will be published around July or August of the new school year.
“With the growth of youth bass fishing, we are proud to offer this activity for student anglers enrolled in our member schools and to provide them with the opportunity to win a Georgia High School Association State Championship," Kevin Giddens, Associate Director for the GHSA said. "We look forward to seeing who will hoist the first championship trophy in the Spring of 2021."
Georgia joins Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi as other states with the official sport.
“High school fishing is an incredible way for schools to connect with students,” Dave Washburn, FLW Vice President of Operations said. “It instills a sense of pride and belonging that so many students are missing today."
A special kickoff tournament – the GHSA Cup – will be held for GHSA-member schools March 21 at Lake Oconee in Buckhead, Georgia.