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Teen bass-catchers head to regionals

Two Rogue Valley teens are heading south to an Arizona bass-fishing mecca in hopes of putting their names on yet another high school bass-fishing trophy.

Jacob Wall of Jacksonville and Colby Pearson of Central Point will represent Oregon next week in the regional tournament en route to the national finals in a series of fishing events organized by The Bass Federation.

The pair won the inaugural Oregon State High School Championship on the Columbia River last spring, and that was the first step toward their ultimate goal of winning the upcoming national tourney.

But first they must reign supreme on Saguaro Lake near Mesa, Ariz., against nine other Western state-champion teams trying to land the heaviest stringer of largemouth bass in the one-day event.

They will all compete in the FLW Outdoors/TBF High School Fishing Regional Championship, held Saturday, Nov. 19, in conjunction with a National Guard FLW College Fishing Regional Championship hosted by Arizona State University.

Wall likes their chances, he says, in part because the pair's boat captain is a local guide who fishes Saguaro Lake about 150 days a year. Captains drive the bass boats and help their individual teams during the tournament.

"I think we have a pretty good chance," Wall says. "We've got the skill, and our boat captain is a good fisherman. He has good information and knows where the fish are. If he points us in the right direction, we'll put fish in the boat."

The event is the last of five regional tournaments arranged to set the field for the 2012 national tournament next spring.

The pair will fly to Mesa on Thursday and do some fishing Friday in preparation for the Saturday tournament.

National champions will each earn a $5,000 scholarship to use at the university of their choice.

Wall is a junior at St. Mary's School, and the duo fished under the St. Mary's flag in the state tourney. It was one of several state or regional tournaments started this year by the Oklahoma-based TBF Student Angler Federation.

Pearson is a senior at Crater High School.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.