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High school fishing team hosts benefit tournament

Jan. 19—Haywood Anglers, the county's high school bass fishing team, is hosting its second annual benefit fishing tournament on Lake Fontana near Robbinsville.

The tournament runs from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 27 at Lemmons Branch at Lake Fontana.

Registration begins at 5:45 a.m., and the entry fee is $100. First place pays $400, second place $300, third place $150 and the "big fish" prize is $50.

Standard rules apply with a five-fish limit. Fish minimums are 12" for spotted bass, 14" for largemouth bass and 14" for smallmouth bass. Late or dead fish is a quarter-pound penalty.

This year's tournament will have a raffle at the close of the tournament, with prizes like weed eaters, rods and reels, a Blackstone grill, coolers, gift certificates and more. Food will also be provided to all participants.

All proceeds of the tournament go toward travel, lodging, entry fees and food for the Haywood Anglers.

Last year's benefit tournament hosted 31 boats.

"The fishing community really gave us a lot of support," said Kevin Moore, who's son, Evin Moore, is a member of the team.

The team of Jason Ashe and Brian Kirkland took first place with five fish at 17.11 pounds, while father/son duo Robert and Josh Banks took second with five fish at 16.12 pounds. Shane Riddle and Kep Biggs took third with five fish at 16.11 pounds.

There was a tie for the "big fish" prize: Shane Riddle/Kep Biggs and Jordan Cooper/Forrest Koontz each with 5.15 bass.

Who are the anglers?

The Haywood Anglers compete in the middle and high school divisions of the Bassmaster High School Series, fielding four two-man boats this season: Evin Moore and Bridger Jones, Aidan Ellege and Colten Brown, Carson Mosteller and Colton Mosteller and Levin Brooks and Keegan Mahoney. Moore and Jones also compete in the "Palmetto Series" in South Carolina.

Middle school students Dawson Henson and Cooper Rhinehart joined this season to compete in the Junior Division.

Become a sponsor

Haywood Anglers is seeking more sponsors to help them compete. Travel, lodging and food (for teenage boys) isn't cheap. For those interested in becoming a sponsor, reach out to Haywood Anglers on Facebook and Instagram.

The team would like to thank the following sponsors (in no order): McElroy and Ellege Realty, Pioneer Supply, Wright Construction, S&S Hunting Supplies, Parkway Heating and Air, Haywood Ace Hardware, SVevents, Blue Rooster Southern Grill, Pisgah View Storage, Clark and Leatherwood, Grey Bridge Timer, Kenneth Guess DDS, Riverside Trailer and Truck Bed, Kristen Rhinehart Realty, DJ & R, Stanberry Insurance, Hoopers Grading, Brian K. Noland Realty, Blue Ridge Dermatology, Jack the Dipper, Pitts Towing, NuWay Cleaners, RCF, Boyd Mountain Log Cabin, EZ Stop in Waynesville, the Antique Mall in Balsam and Lake Junaluska Gofl Course.