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MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2007
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Elite Series plans 2008 visit to Ingalls

While covering the Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham four months ago, I received a lot of unexpected attention.

In the beginning, the stares made me curious. People would look at my Classic credentials hanging from around my neck and then look at my face. Then, almost immediately, you could tell they were thinking about something in particular — but what it was, well, I didn’t have a clue.

After going through this routine several times, someone finally broke the silence and spoke to me about a subject that I wasn’t thinking about the least little bit. After all, this was the Bassmaster Classic I was covering.

“Are you from Decatur, Alabama?” the guy asked.

I told him I was and then he asked the question all the others were thinking about, “Y’all got that nice, new marina down there, don’t you? Yea, I’ve got to see that place, I’ve heard all about it.”

The same scenario repeated itself time and time again throughout the whole three days that I was there.

This past week, BASS sent out a press release announcing the 2008 Elite Series tournament schedule.

Sure enough, that nice, new marina — which happens to be called Ingalls — is listed on the schedule.

Slated for June 5-8, 2008, the BASS Elite Series will bring 108 of the best professional bass anglers in the world to Ingalls Marina and Wheeler Lake.

Apparently, all of the gossip I’ve heard is true.

I’ve heard from people associated with BASS and the FLW circuit about bringing their tournaments back to this fantastic place where anglers can feel at ease because of the size of the marina. Ingalls has long docks where participants can park their boat and go immediately to the weigh-in station without worrying about their rig.

To the pros fishing in the tournament, not having to worry about their boat is a giant issue — I know this for a fact. Many children have had to wait to get pictures or autographs of their favorite anglers after they weigh their fish, and it was because the fishermen had to take care of their boat so someone else could park it their particular spot.

The “comfort zone,” as many of the anglers call it, has come to Decatur. And it’s apparent that all the people involved who have made this “comfort zone” a reality are ready to dish out some Southern hospitality a year from now. The tournament itself has been labeled the “Southern Challenge” by BASS.

The Elite Series is the major circuit of BASS. Professional anglers have to earn the right to fish in this trail, and you will see a lot of the big names of bass fishing here when BASS comes to visit.

BASS noted that Wheeler Lake has been host to eight of its events, including the 1974 Bassmaster Classic. And now, with all the hoopla about the new Ingalls, I feel confident that BASS will want to visit Decatur and Wheeler Lake many more times on down the road.

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Paul Stackhouse
Outdoors
Paul Stackhouse

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