News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

BASS fishing Wheeler this week
More than 180 anglers on lake

By Paul Stackhouse 340-2460

It would be easy to say that bass-tournament fever has struck Decatur, Wheeler Lake and Ingalls Harbor.

The Bassmaster Southern Open Trail had its season finale tournament here last week.

And, for fishing fans, there's plenty more competitive action to come.

The BASS Federation Nation will begin its Alabama championship Friday at Ingalls Harbor with the champion being crowned Saturday.

Organizers say 188 anglers are entered, which means more than 90 boats will be searching Wheeler Lake for big bass.

Only largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass are allowed to be caught and weighed in.

One of the unique things about Wheeler Lake, and why so many tournaments cast upon its 67,000 acres, is Wheeler is home to all three species of black bass.

Weigh-ins for Friday and Saturday are slated for 2 p.m. at Ingalls Harbor, but that time may change with additional boat/angler registrations.

Also, prizes for the winners will be announced, and the champions will have a special interest in advancing to other tournaments that could lead them to the Bassmaster Classic.

Participating anglers, tournament officials, the Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau and BASS Federation Nation National Director Don Corkran will enjoy a catered barbecue meal at the Holiday Inn on Thursday evening at 5:30 followed by a special program at 6. A tournament briefing and contestant pairing will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The BASS Federation Nation is an outgrowth of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society

As the landscape of this great sport has changed during the years, members have decided to join the BASS Federation Nation for many reasons other than exciting tournament fishing.

The vision of pioneers Ray Scott and Don Butler established conservation and a focus on building youth programs in addition to fishing competition as areas critical to the viability of the sport and our lifestyle.

The BASS Federation Nation has more than 50,000 members in the United States, Japan, South Africa, Italy, Canada and Zimbabwe. Alabama is one of largest state federations with more than 40 affiliated bass clubs and 1,000 members.

Alabama BASS. Federation Nation chapter clubs perform hundreds of hours of community service and raise thousands of dollars for charitable causes in their communities such as breast cancer research, disadvantaged children with disabilites, diabetics and many more charities.

One of the big events that the Federation Nation is happy to support each year is the CastingKids competition. The CastingKids program holds events and competitions for children that may lead the youngsters all the way to participating in the Bassmaster Classic each year.

This Friday and Saturday will find the North Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitators setting up consessions at Ingalls Harbor for all to enjoy, with everything from hotdogs and drinks to cornbread/pinto beans and homemade pies and cakes available.

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