On a day that saw 21-year-old Tyler Swaney compete in the BASS Federation Championship for a berth in the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic, 10 young CastingKids competitors got one step closer to their dream of a trip to the Classic for the CastingKids National Championship.
When Swaney was just seven, he finished third in the nation in the 7-10 age division. It was an event that he still remembers and credits with shaping his angling career.
“It was a great experience and one I would recommend to every young person who loves fishing,” he said.
CastingKids competitors range between seven and 14 years of age and earned the chance to compete in the Semifinals by winning at the local and state levels.
Competitors are split into two age divisions (7-10 and 11-14) with the top score from each age group in each division advancing to the Finals. The 10 finalists will compete in conjunction with the 2005 Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh, July 29-31.
“I love to fish and have been fishing with my granddaddy my whole life,” said 10-year-old Beth Miles [the Southern Division winner in the 7-10 bracket]. “This is my first year competing in CastingKids. I bombed during practice, but when I went up to compete, all my nerves went away.”
The other qualifiers in the 7-10 age group were Shauni Voison of Teeswater, Ontario, Canada, in the Northern Division, Bryce Bason of Mill Hall, Pa., in the East, Kiana Clark of Kennewick, Wash., in the West and Devin Dixon of Hinton, Okla., in the Central.
In the 11-14 age group, Dave Saterback of Maple Grove, Minn., took the Northern Division, Corey Harrington of Hiddenite, N.C., won the South, Danny Roselle of La Plata, Md., won the East, Nathan Bromley of Albany, Ore., was tops in the West, and Hunter King of North Platte, Neb., won the Central Division with a perfect score of 150.
“This was my third time to the Semifinals, but I had never made it past that,” said Danny Roselle. “I’m really glad to have made it. I’ve spent some time with [BASS pro] Mark Davis, and he talked to me about how to be a calm fisherman and not get too excited. His advice helped me to stay calm today, and I was much more relaxed this time around. Now, I can’t wait to get to Pittsburgh.”
That’s where the finalists will have the chance to compete for $20,000 in scholarships, with a top prize of $5,000 for each age group. Since its inception in 1991, CastingKids has awarded over $2.9 million in scholarships and prizes.
“We’re extremely proud of all the competitors that made it to the National Semifinals, and especially proud of the girls,” said BASS Youth Manager Stacey Twiggs. “Last year Shauni won the tournament, and she’s back again this year. We’re all really proud of her.”
Former CastingKids standout Tyler Swaney failed to qualify for the Classic, but finished a very respectable 13th in the Federation Championship. He had some advice for the CastingKids making the trek to Pittsburgh.
“It’s tough, and you’re going to be nervous, but just remember to enjoy the moment and take everything in around you,” Swaney said. “Try not to be too serious, and remember to have a good time.”
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of BASS’ CastingKids program include CITGO, Toyota, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Lowrance Electronics, Bass Pro Shops, MotorGuide, Berkley and Zebco.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.