Marion County Bassmasters Wins First MLF High School Fishing Open of 2022 on Harris Chain of Lakes

LEESBURG, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2022) – The Marion County Bassmasters High School team of Claude Loftin of St. Augustine, Florida, and Tyson Verkaik of Eustis, Florida, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces, to win the season-opening MLF High School Fishing Presented by Favorite Fishing Open at the Harris Chain of Lakes.

A field of 28 teams competed in the no-entry fee tournament, which launched from the Venetian Gardens in Leesburg. In MLF and The Bass Federation (TBF) High School Fishing competition, the top 10% of teams competing advance to the High School Fishing National Championship.

The top two teams that advanced to the 2022 High School Fishing National Championship are:

1st: Marion County Bass Masters – Claude Loftin, St. Augustine, Fla., and Tyson Verkaik, Eustis, Fla., five bass, 19-14
2nd: Central Florida Youth Anglers – Logan Cardwell, Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., and Kaden Snavely, Grand Island, Fla., five bass, 18-6

Rounding out the top 10 teams were:

3rd: Hidden Lake Big Bass – Dalton Defilice, Howe, Ind., and Elijah Meyers, Fort Wayne, Ind., five bass, 17-1
4th: Gainesville High School, Gainesville, Fla. – Julian Mendoza and Reginald Moore, five bass, 16-13
5th: Bass Tactix HS Fishing – Chance Shelby, Denim Springs, La., and Levi Thibodaux, Thibodaux, La., five bass, 16-9
6th: TSA Teen Sport Fishing Association – Patrick Bartolotta, Lake Mary, Fla., and Brady Biles, Sanford, Fla., five bass, 13-8
7th: Fishing Buddies – Isaac Dorland, Dunnellon, Fla., and Jason Haynes, Fruitland Park, Fla., five bass, 13-6
8th: Salt Homeschool Group – Drew Bradstreet and Kamden Bradstreet, both of Lutz, Fla., five bass, 13-3
9th: Rhea County High School, Evensville, Tenn. – Andon Goins and Blake Wheat, five bass, 12-14
10th: West Morgan High School, Trinity, Ala. – Ty Carruth and Lake Johnson, five bass, 12-12

Complete results from the event can be found at

The MLF High School Fishing Presented by Favorite Fishing Open at the Harris Chain of Lakes was hosted by Lake County, Florida. The next event for High School Fishing anglers will be the MLF High School Fishing Presented by Favorite Fishing Open on Toledo Bend, Jan. 22, in Many, Louisiana.

MLF High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing tournaments are free, two-person (team) events for students in grades 7-12 and are open to any MLF and TBF Student Angler Federation-affiliated high school club. The top 10% of teams at each Open event, along with the TBF High School Fishing state championships, will advance to the 2022 High School Fishing National Championship. The 2022 MLF High School Fishing National Championship will be held on Pickwick and Wilson Lakes in Florence, Alabama, June 22-25, and is hosted by the Florence-Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The High School Fishing National Champions will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice and advance to the 2022 MLF Toyota Series Championship to compete as co-anglers.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit For regular High School Fishing updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.