The Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series is bringing the third stop of the Northern Division to the waters of Neely Henry Lake on April 5, 2014, and serving as master of ceremonies is fishing legend and entertainer Fish Fishburne. Hosted by the City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation, the tournament is attracting 400 amateur anglers from across the southeastern United States and is expected to generate an approximate $500,000 economic impact for the Gadsden area and Etowah County.
Takeoff is set for approximately 7 a.m. and weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. at the boat ramp. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. Registration and briefing will take place at the Convention Hall in Gadsden beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 4. According to Alabama Bass Trail’s Program Director Kay Donaldson, the tournament is expected to pump an estimated $500,000 into the local economy of the host city through revenue generated by anglers and their family members dining, shopping, and overnighting in local hotels and motels.
Fish Fishburne has been involved with the fishing industry for more than 20 years including twelve years as a B.A.S.S. angler, two-time tournament champion and four-time B.A.S.S. Classic participant. He gained further national celebrity in a seven year run as host of ESPN’s The BassMasters television series, host of ESPN Outdoors Radio, and was a popular emcee and star of TNN’s “Go Fish” television series. In 2010, Fish began hosting the hit series “Ultimate Match Fishing,” which airs on the Outdoor Channel, and in 2011, Fish hit the airways with his own television creation “The Fish Fishburne Show,” which also airs on the Outdoor Channel.
Fish Fishburne will serve as master of ceremonies during weigh-in, which is set to begin at 3 p.m. He will be at the pre-tournament meeting and will be available one hour prior to the weigh-in for autographs and pictures. “We are pleased to have Fish Fishburne serving as master of ceremonies for the tournament at Neely Henry Lake,” said Donaldson. “He is no stranger to the world of fishing and we look forward to his entertainment style adding another element to the Tournament Series.”
Sanctioned by BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), the tournament trail features two divisions: Northern and Southern. Each division is made up of five tournaments on five different lakes. Maximum number of boats is 200 and each tournament will have a $10,000 guaranteed first place prize and will pay 20 places.
Lake Guntersville February 1, 2014 hosted by Marshall County CVB
Pickwick Lake March 22, 2014 hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism
Neely Henry Lake April 5, 2014 hosted by City of Gadsden Parks & Recreation
Wheeler Lake May 31, 2014 hosted by Decatur-Morgan County CVB
Logan Martin Lake June 21, 2014
Mobile-Tensaw Delta March 1, 2014 hosted by North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce
Lake Eufaula March 15, 2014 hosted by Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce
Lake Jordan April 19, 2014 hosted by Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce
Alabama River (Millers Ferry) May 10, 2014 hosted by Wilcox County Chamber and the City of Monroeville
Lay Lake June 7 hosted by Shelby County Commission
The championship is a 125 boat, two-day event. The 125 boats are comprised of the top 50 teams in points from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective divisions, along with the top 25 student boats collectively from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective division. Hosted by Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, the championship tournament is set for October 10-11, 2014 on Lewis Smith Lake.
The championship is a no entry tournament and the first place prize is a fully-rigged 2015 Phoenix 619 Pro with a Mercury 150, trolling motor and electronics valued at $37,495 with an additional $40,000 in cash and prizes. The official bass boat of the Alabama Bass Trail, Phoenix Bass boats will also offer the tier one First Flight incentive plan to tournament winners in a qualifying Phoenix boat.
Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series’ sponsors include Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., Fishlife, Elite Outdoors Media, McDonalds of Alabama, and Pradco-FISHING representing BOOYAH and YUM, Dobyns Rods, Randy Jones Agency – Nationwide, T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., Alabama Power Company, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, Rigid Industries, Inc., and Frogg Toggs, Inc., Go Pro, Gander Mountain, HydroWaveTM, Garmin, and Yeti Coolers.
For more information on the Alabama Bass Trail and the tournament series, call Program Director Kay Donaldson at 855.934.7425 or visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.
Image courtesy Alabama Bass Trail