News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2005


Bass tournament for here or there?

With local hotels, gasoline stations and restaurants feeling the increase in business this week, most people shouldnít care that the Wheeler Lake bass tournament got off to a great start Wednesday on Guntersville Lake.

After all, the local Convention and Visitors Bureau paid $60,000 to bring the FLW pro circuit to Decatur to generate business for local merchants. Itís done that. The economic value of the tournament to the city will be big when Auburn University at Montgomery finishes its calculations.

And the television exposure thatís part of the deal is still to be about Wheeler Lake, not Guntersville Lake.

But one might think that the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Wheeler Lake bass tournament would be to challenge the 400 anglers, divided evenly between professionals and amateurs, to catch our biggest and best bass, no matter the river conditions.

Local fishermen say if the river isnít flowing here, the bass wonít bite. It wasnít flowing, so about three-fourths of the contestants made the 75-minute trip by boat from Riverwalk Marina to Guntersville and hit a bonanza.

This is the first Wal-Mart FLW tour tournament on Wheeler Lake, and was open to the entire river for fishing.

The sport shouldnít be in catching fish when they are most vulnerable, but in outsmarting them.

The next time this tour comes to Decatur, if it does, letís hope it stays on Wheeler Lake.

The city certainly lost some of the economic impact and Wheelerís image suffered from the easy fishing on Guntersville.

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