High schools nation-wide cast their baits in the Shoals this week

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Anglers say bass fishing in north Alabama is like none-other in the country.

With all the glitz and glamour of the pro fishing circuit, more than 160 fishing teams from 22 states are calling the Shoals home this week.

They’re here competing in the 2015 Bass Federation High School Fishing World Finals.

A competitive outreach designed for students who might not other-wise be involved in sports.

“When this originally started six out of every ten kids who got in this program didn’t do anything else for their school,” stated Mark Gintert, The Bass Federation National Youth Director. “So it was a great avenue to get kids who were maybe just walking the halls wandering around and their parents reengaged with the school.”

Gintert said teams from as far away as Arizona and upstate New York are in the Shoals competing this week.

He said the student angler division has exploded in the last few years.

“We put together insurance packages for our membership schools, online education, and fundraising. We try to make it a turnkey deal for them and we are now working towards 14-thousand anglers in our database,” explained Gintert.

And instead of cash prizes, high school teams compete for college scholarship money.

They’re teams who are putting their passion to good use and working towards their future.

The four-day tournament will go through Saturday, with afternoon weigh-ins at 1:30 p.m. each day at McFarland Park in Florence.