Two Bartow High School freshman – Kaitlyn Boswell and Cole Schmucker – were honored Thursday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for winning the 2013 Florida Student Angler Federation State Championship.
Boswell and Schmucker won the championship on Lake Tohopekaliga, Kissimmee, earning a spot in the southern regional tournament this fall. Both students maintain top grade-point averages and hope to continue their competitive fishing careers at the University of Florida, winner of past Collegiate national championships.
“Enthusiastic young anglers like these are representative of the Next Generation that Cares – those who will help promote active outdoor lifestyles that connect them with nature and encourage conservation stewardship,” Tom Champeau, director of the FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management said. “Because they are role models to other kids, of all ages, the FWC is proud to highlight their accomplishments.”
The FWC is strengthening its partnership with FLW Outdoors and The Bass Federation which sponsors the Student Angler Federation Florida High School Fishing State Championship and promote recreational fishing and conservation nationally. FLW Outdoors and TBF offer a national program for high schools that is established in 48 states and sanctioned in Illinois and Kentucky high schools. The FWC is laying the groundwork to incorporate bass fishing clubs into the Florida High School Athletic Association’s package of sanctioned sports.
Also earning recognition at the FWC luncheon was Adrian “Lunker Louie” Echols. He has joined the FWC’s TrophyCatch Club, and earned three major Big Catch recognitions.
“Louie is an excellent student, and his passion for fishing and the outdoors is an excellent example for kids getting outdoors and leading healthy lifestyles,” Champeau said.
Echols has his own Facebook page, titled “Fishing the Highlands with Louie.” He caught his first bass at age 3. He is currently one of the youngest members of the FWC’s TrophyCatch Lunker Club and he has numerous recognitions from the agency’s Big Catch Program, including Specialist, Master and Elite Angler Awards (see MyFWC.com/BigCatch).
In earning his Elite Angler Certificate, Echols caught qualifying fish from 10 different species and earned his Bass Specialist recognition by catching more than five qualifying largemouth bass.
He also is the star of an episode of “Lunkerville Television,” titled “Louie, Louie,” which aired on World Fishing Network.