Military Bass Anglers Bringing Tourney to Lewis Smith Lake

#The best bass anglers in the U.S. Armed Forces will gather at Lewis Smith Lake near Jasper, Ala., from April 29 - May 4, 2012, to compete in the 2nd annual Military Team Bass Championship tournament.?We are very excited to host the American Bass Anglers Military Team Bass Championship and to invite the country?s most avid military bass anglers and their families to our community,? said Linda Lewis, executive director of the Walker County Chamber of Commerce. ?The direct economic impact alone of these events makes this a wise investment to our area. Furthermore, when coupled with the immeasurable media exposure that a community such as ours would otherwise not be able to obtain, the return on our investment increases tremendously. The pride and excitement that is felt throughout the community for hosting such a well-known, well-respected organization also adds to the benefits. Our citizens take every opportunity available to thank the men and women who put their lives on the line every day for us to enjoy our freedoms. We are overjoyed to welcome our military to our community.?The week-long celebration culminates in the three-day bass tournament. Deep, clear and blue, Lewis Smith Lake covers about 21,200 acres of Walker, Winston and Cullman counties about 20 miles northwest of Birmingham, Ala. More than 500 miles of shorelines studded with large rocks, fallen trees and other cover provide outstanding habitat for largemouth and Kentucky spotted bass. In places, the lake about 20 miles northwest of Birmingham drops to more than 264 feet deep. Created in 1961, the lake formed when Alabama Power Company built a dam across the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River. On the western side of the lake, the 180,000-acre Bankhead National Forest keeps the area wild and pristine.?We are excited to be going to Smith Lake for the 22nd annual meeting of our Military Team Bass anglers,? said Debra Talley, ABA national marketing director. ?The Jasper/Smith Lake community knows the importance of tournament fishing and welcomes participants with open arms. Our military anglers are in for a real treat from this fishing savvy town. They go above and beyond what is normally expected of a host community to insure a great time is had by everyone in attendance. We can?t wait to spend this week with them.?Long associated with the U.S. Armed Forces, ABA began in 1975 as the Military Bass Anglers Association, an organization dedicated to providing bass anglers in the military an opportunity to compete in tournaments with other military members. In 2000, Morris Sheehan, a life member who retired from the U.S. Army, bought MBAA, renamed it American Bass Anglers Inc., and relocated it to Athens, Ala.The Military Team Bass Fishing Tournament began in 1991 to promote fishing and camaraderie among all branches of the military. Any active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, Reserve or Coast Guard member may fish in this event. Families of military members at least 16 years old, Department of Defense civilians, contractors and retired military members may also fish this event. The tournament will crown an ?Angler of the Year? from each of the military branches.In 2011, Majors Hamby and Ron Figueroa, representing the U.S. Army, won the 21st annual American Bass Anglers Military Team Bass Championship tournament, held May 4-6, 2011, at Clarks Hill Lake on the Georgia-South Carolina line. They beat 120 teams, bringing in a perfect three-day tournament limit of 15 bass weighing 40.77 pounds with a 3.76-pound kicker. For the victory, Hamby and Figueroa won an opportunity to spend four days and three nights at Los Sueños Resort in Costa Rica, courtesy of Early Times Kentucky Whisky and JDC Marketing.For a list of more upcoming tournaments, click here.

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