News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Southern Open anglers love Ingalls Harbor

The city of Decatur, the Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the BASS Federation Nation and everyone involved in the Bassmaster Southern Open bass tournament last week had good reason to be proud.

The tournament, which was hosted from Ingalls Harbor on Wheeler Lake, was a huge success.

Time after time, I heard tournament officials and anglers speak about how nice it was to come to Decatur. It seemed that everyone was impressed with our Ingalls Marina.

After listening to so many people speak about Ingalls Harbor, we figured you might like to hear some of the opinions about the facility that has put Decatur on the competitive bass fishing map:

Chris Bowes, Southern Open tournament director: “This is a top-notch facility. It has to be one of the best, if not the best in the country. It’s not often that we come to a place where we can launch several boats at the same time. The docking space here is literally incredible, as is the parking area. You’ve got a large grass field and pavement or firm gravel where you can set up stages and tents and things of that nature. It’s absolutely awesome. The city and CVB have done an outstanding job putting this all together

“I’d come back here in a heartbeat. I was talking with (special events director) Tiffany Brightwell of the CVB about bringing the Elite Series back here in June, and we’re looking for places for 2009 and beyond. Decatur and Ingalls Harbor will always be right on the top of our list. We’ll look forward to talks with the CVB in the near future.”

Maryland pro Frank Ippoliti, Southern Open pro division winner: “This place is absolutely awesome. It sets up perfect for tournaments. It’s great for the average weekend fisherman and for the tournament fisherman. The ramp is fantastic and the parking is great. It’s just a great setup.”

South Carolina pro and second-place finisher Todd Auten: “I have truly enjoyed this facility here. Everything y’all did here is great. I wish every place we go to would have something as nice as this.”

BASS Elite series pro and former angler-of-the-year Gerald Swindle: “I’ve been all over the country, coast-to-coast, and you have the best facility we’ve every launched at.”

BASS Elite Series pro and former angler-of-the-year Tim Horton: “I am just blown away with this place — it’s very impressive. All of the guys have been bragging on it. Whoever designed it did a great job. The parking is great, the tie-up area is great and you can launch over 10 boats at a time. What Decatur has done will definitely make it easier for tournaments to come here.”

BASS pro Terry Seagraves of Florida: “It’s awesome. I’m from Kissimmee, Fla., and we need something like what you have here. I take my hat off to all of you. You have something to be proud of here.”

Third-place finisher Kenneth Chapman: “The Decatur mayor tied up my boat when I came in — what more can I say about this place?”

Decatur angler David Parks, who fished with Ippoliti as a co-angler: “I think everything went really well. The CVB did a great job. This is such a great facility. I’m looking forward to getting the bathrooms built and the landscaping all done. I don’t see anything but good things here on down the road.”

Southern open roundup

In the professional division, 1,435 bass were brought to the scales with a weight of 2,332 pounds. On the co-angler side, 1,065 bass went to the scales with a weight of 1,461 pounds, 5 ounces.

The tourney’s big bass was caught by Tennessee pro Bob Morin on Friday — a 7-pound, 11-ounce largemouth bass.

Super Retriever Series

The third national qualifying venue for the Super Retriever Series will be Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Huntsville.

The hunt tests and field trials, which tests each dog’s hunting savvy and ability to search for decoys amid various obstacles, will be held on the Jones Family Farm off Garth Road.

The Super Retriever Series features four events: hunt tests, field trials, the Super Fly and the Super V challenges. The Super Fly and Super V events will be held in the parking lot at the Valley Bend at Jones Farm Shopping Center in front of Marshall’s. Pools will be in place to provide a splash as the dogs compete to see who can jump the farthest and highest.

The competition on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 will start at 7:30 a.m. each day on Jones Farm, while Nov. 3 competition will start at 9 a.m. The Nov. 2 competition will begin at 9 a.m. at Valley Bend.

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Paul Stackhouse
Paul Stackhouse

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