Elizabethtown students win first World Fishing Championship in Lancaster County history | Local News
Elizabethtown High School fresh graduate Anthony Cicero IV and rising senior Dakota Snyder last month became the first Lancaster County team to win the Student Anglers Federation World High School Fishing Championships hosted by the Bass Federation and the Fishing League Worldwide.
“Amazing,” said Cicero’s father, Anthony Cicero III. “It still gives me chills to think about it.”
The big June 22 victory over Pickwick Lake in Alabama came at the end of four days of grueling competition between 389 high school teams from across the country. There was also a team from Canada and another from Zimbabwe.
The victory was a potentially life-changing event for both Cicero and Snyder.
In addition to “lots of fishing gear, televisions and trophies,” Cicero said, the team’s earnings also included their pick of scholarship offers from Bethel University in Tennessee, Simpson University in California or Kentucky Christian University – each with a collegiate fishing team. . Scholarship offers range from $28,000 to $50,000 per angler.
Just graduating from high school, Cicero, 18, said he wasn’t sure what he was going to do next with his life.
“I was thinking of taking a year to work and think about what to do,” he said.
Now that he has received a scholarship offer, he plans to go to university.
“I don’t know what I could study,” he says. “I have to think about it, but I think I’d like to go to college and fish for the team.”
With one year of high school remaining, Snyder, 17, said he was considering joining the US Marine Corps. But now he is also considering taking one of the scholarship offers.
“I’m not sure right now,” he said. “But maybe I’ll go to college. This gives me another option.
Both Cicero and Snyder have said professional fishing could be in their future.
“It would be a dream come true,” Cicero said.
HOW THEY GOT THERE
Held annually in June, the World High School Fishing Championships are open to any high school team in the United States.
The Bass Federation (TBF) is one of the oldest organized grassroots fishing organizations in the country, with a strong focus on young anglers.
Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world.
Cicero and Snyder have been fishing as a team for several years. Their fathers – Anthony Cicero III and Mark Snyder – used to fish tournaments together as a team.
“That’s how we met,” said young Cicero.
The team decided to compete in the world championships after finishing second last summer at the Pennsylvania State Championships. This qualified them for the national championship, which was held at the same time as the global event.
THE BIG TOURNAMENT
The dual national and world championships began on June 19, with the nationals ending on June 21 and the worlds ending on June 22.
Each team was allowed to weigh in to a limit of three basses each day of competition. The limits of the first two days were added together to cut the field for the third day, when everyone started from scratch.
From that day’s competition, the top 30 teams were selected to fish on day four of the world championships. Again, each team started the day from scratch.
Throughout the tournament, Cicero and Snyder fished from Cicero’s father’s 20-foot bass boat. Anthony Cicero III led anglers wherever they wanted to fish.
“We looked at a bunch of maps and talked about it amongst ourselves to figure out where we wanted to go each day,” Snyder said.
The Ciceros fished Lake Pickwick last year, and Cicero and Snyder practiced on the lake for three days before the tournament, so they had an idea of where they might find some good big mouths.
On day four, when most teams headed for the deeper waters of Pickwick, Cicero and Snyder stayed shallow, fishing in an area with depths ranging from 8 inches to 5 feet.
They caught three good bass there, including a 7-pound, 7-ounce lunker landed by Cicero, which was the biggest bass caught by anyone that day.
The team’s limit for the final round weighed in at 16 pounds, 6 ounces, nearly 2 pounds heavier than the second-place team from Gardendale High School in Alabama.
Both Cicero and Snyder have been fishing competitively for several years.
“I like knowing that every fish I catch means something,” Snyder said. “Every take is important.”
Anthony Cicero III said he basically had his son by his side at fishing tournaments all his life.
“He grew up being on the boat with me and my dad while we were fishing tournaments,” Cicero III said.
As members of the Susquehanna River Bassmasters club, Cicero and Snyder regularly participate in fishing clubs and state tournaments in Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.
They both fish several days a week, all year round.
“As long as there is no ice, I fish,” Snyder said.
As a veteran tournament angler himself, Anthony Cicero III says his son has a gift that could propel him to success, should he decide to be a tournament professional.
“He just has a knack for catching fish,” he said. “He can surpass me. He just knows what to do to catch fish when he needs it.
“He fishes and wins tournaments where he fishes against adults. I know he has what it takes to be a pro.
With the world title to their credit. Cicero and Snyder have yet another feat in sight this summer.
The couple plans to compete in the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School National Championship August 8-10 on Lake Kentucky in Paris, Tennessee.
They earned the right to compete in this event after finishing second in the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) Pennsylvania High School Championship last summer on Lake Raystown.
“It would be great if we could get that one too,” Cicero said.