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Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open Hits The Water Saturday at Lake Martin

Nic Thornton | PrepsNet

Alexander City, AL: High school anglers from across Alabama, and the southeast, will be dropping their lures Saturday morning at Lake Martin.

The 2015 Costa Southern Open will be the first of three high school tournaments leading to the Bassmaster High school National Championship.

When B.A.S.S launched the Bassmaster High School Series in 2014, the series exceeded the number of anglers expected to participate within the first four months of the program’s inception. The sudden growth sparked a need to accommodate the demand for a youth fishing platform across the nation.

“The number of anglers who want to fish with us is really impressive,” said Hank Weldon, manager of the Bassmaster High School Series. “High School fishing has the potential to be the largest tournament series we have in terms of angler participation.”

Weldon said several new routes to qualifying for the 2015 Bassmaster High School National Championship have been added. In addition to berths earned through each participating state’s championship, high school anglers can qualify through sanctioned bass trails and through three regional Opens-format events.

“With the new format in 2015, we expect the field for the championship to grow even more,” Weldon said.

Beginning this year, anglers can qualify for the championship any of three ways: each state’s B.A.S.S. Nation’s Top 2 high school teams, the Bassmaster High School Opens presented by Carhartt and through B.A.S.S. Nation-affiliated High School trails.

“We wanted to offer high school students more opportunities to compete in the national championship,” Weldon said. “We want the best of the best fishing our championship, and this new format increases the number of chances for busy high school students to qualify.”