Bobby Lane hosts high school tournament

Student anglers take over at Camp Mack

Shane Schmucker and Tyler Bazemore won the sixth annual Bobby Lane Cup on Saturday on the Kissimmee Chain to highlight a day of bass fishing competition for student anglers.

Schmucker and Bazemore, with Shane’s older brother Cole as boat captain, produced the winning weight of 18.15 pounds in the high school division.

And Tripp Berlinsky Jr. and Haddon Herring took top honors in the Bobby Lane Youth Cup for middle school and elementary school anglers with 13.85 pounds.

Junior fishermen took over at Camp Mack, with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bobby Lane serving as tournament host and emcee for weigh-ins.

Shane Schmucker, a George Jenkins student, achieved a milestone.

“Shane’s the only angler to win it as a junior angler (three years ago) and now to win it as a high school angler,” said Derek Boswell, tournament director for the Bartow High School Yellow Jackets Fishing Team, the host club.

Bazemore, who left the BHS Jackets after winning angler of the year in 2015 to start a bass team at Fort Meade High, claimed lunker honors with an 8.5-pounder.

“The Bartow High School team calls him the GOAT, the greatest of all time,” Boswell said. “He was excited, because he finally won it as a senior.”

Boswell said about 340 youth took part in the day, including 30 kids younger than 8 in the Camp Mack Reel Kids event, which featured competition in flipping, pitching and casting.

Bobby Lane’s daughter, Amberly Lane, was the Reel Kids champion, already a skilled flipper.

“Every cast, she got a bulls-eye,” Boswell said.

“We’re trying to encourage the young kids,” he said, adding that every kid was given a rod-and-reel combo in themes of Spider Man, Teenage Mutant Turtles or Barbie Princess.

The Bobby Lane Cup drew a field of 117 teams from high schools as far away as Rock Castle, Ky. Polk area high schools included Fort Meade, Bartow, Lake Wales, George Jenkins, Strawberry Crest, Auburndale, Winter Haven, Haines City and Tenoroc.

“Having close to 300 students participating on the water, it was the best turnout we’ve had,” Boswell said. “We grew the tournament by over 100 students this year.”

Boswell said high school and junior bass fishing is vibrant in Polk.

“We have more high school teams than any other county in Florida,” he said. “These kids are really wanting to get involved.”…Read More