Bill Tavel of Brentwood, Md., makes a special trip to Hertford, N.C., every year to visit with his former Navy comrades from the USS California at their annual meeting spot, the Lunker Lodge. It’s a trip filled with good friends, good memories and even better fishing.
This year at the Lunker Lodge, Tavel won’t be riding along; he’ll be the captain of his own bass fishing boat.
“When I entered the Bassmaster Summer Boat Giveaway I never thought I’d win,” Tavel said. “Now, my buddies at the Lunker Lodge are waiting for me to bring down my new boat so they can all try it out!”
Tavel won the sweepstakes’ grand prize of a Skeeter TZX180 boat with standard equipment and a single-axle trailer, a Yamaha F150LA outboard motor, a Humminbird 728 Fishfinder and a Minn Kota 70 Edge trolling motor.
“I’m still dumbfounded that I’ve won, and I think I will be until I pick it up and drive it home,” Tavel said.
After receiving his winning phone call, Tavel was told he could choose the boat’s paint scheme and color package.
“I want fire engine red!” Tavel told the boat dealership. Working as the chief inspector of signals on the Washington, D.C., Metro for 11 years and as a volunteer firefighter, Tavel considers himself a connoisseur of big boy toys.
“I’ve worked on big trains, big trucks, and now I’ve got my own big boat,” Tavel explained. “I always told my boss that once I retired I was going to get a boat, but now that I’ve won one, I guess I’m almost ready to retire!”
Tavel plans to have his Skeeter before Veteran’s Day so he can make a special trip to the Lunker Lodge with his new bass boat in tow.
“My chief has stage 4 cancer,” Tavel said. “And, that second week in November I’ll be headed to the lodge, so I can take him out on the boat. I’m still bedazzled at the thought of winning it.”
For another chance to win, fans can enter the Ultimate Fish with KVD Sweepstakes, valued at $35,000, currently underway on Bassmaster.com. The winner will receive a fishing trip with seven-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam, including round-trip airfare within the continental U.S., a three-night hotel stay, rental car and $500 spending money.
In addition to the KVD fishing trip, the winner also receives a new Nitro Z-7 with a Mercury 150 Pro XS and trailer, and an assortment KVD’s gear.
The winner will be selected Jan. 13.
Image courtesy Bill Tavel