ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA)–Anderson County is reeling in big numbers as it hosts the 12th Annual High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship for the first time.
Officials said this is the first time the state has hosted, “The Bass Federation High School World Fishing Finals and National Championship.” According to officials, this tournament is also the biggest event at Green Pond Landing and Event Center to date.
“I don’t know if there’ve been a 400 boat tournament on this lake ever,” said Neil Paul, Executive Director for Visit Anderson. “It’s the largest event that I’ve been a part of here in the 11 and a half years I’ve been here,” he said.
Anderson County is tilting the scales upward with the record breaking turnout.
“This event has put over 8,000 rooms, 8,000 room nights in our county,” Paul said. “Logistically, this is the first tournament that you’ll actually get to weigh in here, in the new amphitheater here at Green Pond. The county has committed a lot of time and resources through some funding programs, some grant programs, some federal support to help develop and build this amphitheater,” he said.
Teams are in the county, from 41 states and multiple countries, officials said. Leaders said about 1,200 people are participating. Two teams from Zimbabwe, said they’ve never competed in a tournament this size.
“Just a unique experience and very different to back home, I guess. It’s just so much bigger, like a very large tournament compared to what we have back home,” said Jonny Bowen, Zimbabwe angler.
“We have a lake and a facility that we can get any tournament here that we want. We get them to continue coming back, because of the type of experience they have when they’re here,” Paul said.
As anglers are fishing for their three best bass, some teams said they are happy to experience the county and help its economy.
“I feel like it sort of hits close to our heart, because back home also with COVID a lot of businesses struggled during this time period with all the restaurants and all the main industry being closed, so really helping the tourism sector mainly here, it feels really good for them to almost get back to normal in their way,” Bowen said. “We would like to thank them for providing such amazing facilities and being so welcoming,” he added.
Anglers will have their chance to win many scholarships for college.
“Kids are here competing for scholarship money, you know for college. There are opportunities to continue their fishing careers,” Paul said.
The tournament started on Wednesday and will run through Saturday. Tournament host said at the end of Friday, the top 30 teams will advance to Saturday, where they will fish for the big championship.