Thanks to the hard work of several local anglers, The Arkansas COSTA Bassmaster High School Series will provide high school bass clubs across the state with a great means of growing as fishermen while competing against the best in the state. Derek Sandlin, owner and tournament director of the series, is excited about how everything is coming together as he and others work to bring Bassmaster to the high school level in Arkansas. The series will be the only one officially associated with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, or B.A.S.S. as it is more commonly known. To participate in the new series high school anglers will have to join B.A.S.S. for only $10 per year. Once you have registered with B.A.S.S. you can find a local team with whom you can participate. The league will be comprised of two leagues with anglers fishing in either a junior division, or senior division. They will have the opportunity to compete in four tournaments starting October 29 with the state championship tournament scheduled for next Spring. The series will kick off with a free high school fishing academy, Saturday, October 28 from 6-8 p.m. Mark Davis, a three time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and the 1995 Bassmaster Classic champion will be one of three professional anglers sharing their knowledge with young fishermen from around the state in fishing academy. He will be joined by Stepen Browning, and Mark Rose which will be held at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Kids wanting to participate in the opening tournament on Lake Hamilton October 29 can register for the event at the end of the fishing academy. The second event will be held February 24 on Lake Greeson. Details are still being worked out for the final two tournaments which are tentatively scheduled for Lake Ouachita and Lake Dardenelle. Most high school clubs in Arkansas have been fishing in the Arkansas Youth Team Trail. Sandlin stated that the goal for the new series isn’t to replace any other series. He sees the The Arkansas COSTA Bassmaster High School Series as another option for high school anglers. “I would love to see kids fishing both series this year.” he stated. Although The Arkansas COSTA Bassmaster High School Series is still in the developmental stage things are coming together quickly. Sandlin stated that he expects at least 100 boats for the first event. He feels being sanctioned by B.A.S.S. will help bring a big time feel to the events in his series. He added that pay outs will be done with prizes which will be valued as such that anglers will see more than a 100 percent payback in prizes. Sandlin explained that entry fees should go back to the students whenever possible. He and others working within the series are working to partner with businesses and fishing equipment companies to make this possible. Anglers will earn points at each event they participate in with an as yet undetermined number of anglers earning a spot in the B.A.S.S. high school national tournament. Sandlin stated that the number of qualifiers will depend on the number of participants in the series. Sandlin will be working with Tripp Dunn who will assist with tournaments throughout the season. Sandlin stated that he does not have a detailed set of rules yet. He explained that he is waiting on B.A.S.S. to release the new high school rules for the 2017-18 season. For more information on the The Arkansas COSTA Bassmaster High School Series find them on Facebook. More details and contact information will be coming soon.