News from the Tennessee Valley Sports
MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2007

When spring comes, pro anglers spring into action

April is a special time when bass fishermen clean their gear and take to the water. It is also the time when competitive bass tournaments invade North Alabama.

Now that the American Bass Anglers Grand Slam Series tournament has come and gone on Wheeler Lake, the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division is moving in.

The BFL Choo Choo tournament is a one-day event designed for weekend anglers. It is slated for Saturday at Ingalls Marina. Like a lot of other bass trails and circuits, many of the competitors are there for the money and with hopes of building enough points to reach a championship tournament. But you also will find a lot of anglers who just enjoy competitive bass fishing at a higher level.

What you will find from most of the higher level trails such as ABA, FLW and Bassmasters is that a lot goes into keeping the tournament honest. The BFL is a product of FLW. When hearing or reading about these tournaments, you should realize that there are usually two divisions competing. One is for boaters, who own their own boat, and the other is co-angler, who rides with the boater.

The boaters have a higher entry fee and can win more money. They also are in control of the boat and where it goes.

The co-anglers usually are anglers who want to fish a larger circuit but don’t wish to go to the trouble of bringing and being responsible for a boat. They pay a lower entry fee; therefore, the prize money is not as much as the boater division.

What this boater/co-angler matchup does is create a high state of honesty.

Nobody fishing knows who he or she will be partnered with until the night or late evening before they go out. The concept makes for a clean and fun environment for all involved.

At stake for the boaters, with a full field of 200 boats, is a $6,000 first-place prize. That amount could rise to as much as $8,000 if the winning angler uses certain products for advertising purposes.

In the co-angler division, under the same 200-boat restriction, the first-place prize can be as much as $3,000.

Takeoff from Ingall’s on Saturday morning is scheduled for 6 a.m. with the weigh-in to take place at 2 p.m.

For entry into this tournament, go to or call (270) 252-1000.

National Bass Trail

The Alabama North District of the National Bassfishing Trail will hold a Junior-Only Open Tournament on May 5 on Wilson Lake.

The tournament will start at the Point Restaurant and Marina Ramp at 7 a.m. and finish at 11 a.m. It should be noted that the tournament will be idlespeed only.

Boats may have two juniors but must have an adult or a 16-year-old with a valid boater license. All juniors must have a signed waiver of release from NBT allowing them to fish.

Registration will be from 5:30-6:30 a.m. the day of the event, and the entry fee is $20. A $100 big fish prize is guaranteed, and donations are welcome.

For further information, contact Mike Raney 762-1152 or Donnie Story at 777-3428.


The professional bass fishermen of the Bassmaster Elite Series Purolator Southern Challenge is scheduled to take place Thursday and wind up with a champion Sunday.

The event will include 108 pros, who will pair with their non-boater partners for the chance to win $100,000.

“I think it will take 20-22 pounds (of bass) a day,” Muscle Shoals pro Timmy Horton said. “There will be a lot of big limits brought in.

“There will be both pre-spawn and post-spawn fish caught. Anytime you go to a lake that’s full of bass like Guntersville, they may spawn from March through May.”

The last four BASS tournaments showed just how great a fishery Lake Guntersville (69,100-acres) and all of its grass is. The winners were:

  • 2006, New Jersey’s Michael Iaconelli, 71 pounds, 13 ounces.

  • 2005, Texas pro Zell Rowland, 87-0.

  • 2004, Arkansas’ Gentleman George Cochran, 99-10.

  • 2002, Texas angler Kelly Jordan, 83-11.

    In the Bassmaster tournaments, anglers may weigh-in a limit of five bass on each day. Legal fish include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass.

    Daily weigh-ins are scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. each day at Guntersville High School.

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  • Paul Stackhouse
    Paul Stackhouse

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