High school anglers from across the state are gearing up for their biggest tournament of the season.
Keystone Lake is hosting the Oklahoma Bass Nation High School Fishing Tournament this weekend. It's essentially the state tournament of fishing for high school anglers. The top team advances to the national championship in Kentucky.
Friday was practice day on Keystone Lake.
“Seems pretty good the past two days,” Blanchard senior Nolan Wright said.
And the bass are biting.
“Just cover water and find where they're at,” Norman North freshman Hunter Meadows said.
Meadows and his fishing partner Wright are in from the central part of the state to compete for the title. It's grown from nine teams the first year to 40 this year.
“It's became more popular this year than other years before because more and more people are getting into fishing competitively,” Meadows said.
Fishing has become so popular, colleges will pay for the best anglers to come fish for their team.
“I want to get a fishing scholarship and then, ultimately after that, I wanna go fish the pro circuit,” Mannford junior Garrett McCracken said. “I've dreamed about it ever since I started fishing.”
McCracken is one of the local boys fishing the tournament. And being from Mannford, he has the home lake advantage.
“We know [Keystone Lake] like the back of our hand,” he said. “This is where, metaphorically speaking, we cut our teeth on fishing.”
And while he has a great knowledge of the water, he has an even greater respect for those he's fishing against.
“If you get overconfident, then you're probably gonna get knocked off your horse real quick,” McCracken said. “These guys are too good at sticks and too good of fishermen to not, you gotta be on your A game.”
The teams launch Saturday at 5:30 a.m. The winning team has to catch the biggest bag of five fish.
The weigh-in is at 1:30 p.m. at the New Mannford Ramp.