Pro Anglers Sign Autographs for Tornado Victims

Pro Anglers Sign Autographs for Tornado Victims
Pro Anglers Sign Autographs for Tornado Victims

Bobby Dennis held out a pen and a map to a Bassmaster Elite Series pro as he stepped off the stage.

"Could you sign this? It's an auction item for storm victims," he said.

Dennis repeated the request 99 times, and 99 times a pro signed the map of West Point Lake.

Dennis, a lure designer with Elite Series supporting sponsor Luck "E" Strike USA, was helping out a stranger he had met at the May 5-8 Pride of Georgia event, just days after the April 27 plague of tornadoes that attacked the South.

"The guy walked up to me and asked if I would help. I said sure," Dennis explained.

The auction is being organized by, a new venture of Drew and Kelli Berry, a couple from Douglasville in northern Georgia.

"We were spared, but just 20 miles north and 30 miles south was not," Drew Berry said. He said the map will be one item in an auction he is organizing for victims. The money raised will be donated to the American Red Cross or other relief organizations, he said.

Go Fish Georgia

The new docks, multiple-lane boat ramp and large-capacity parking area of Pyne Road Park in LaGrange, Ga., helped the May 5-8 Bassmaster Elite Series event come off smoothly.

The facilities were built through a successful program called Go Fish Georgia.

The statewide initiative started with $19 million in state funds. Private donors and local communities contribute the rest of the money needed to launch a local project.

Docks and ramps aren't the only types of projects in the program. Others improve the quality of fisheries, promote fishing to attract major circuits or help educate the public about Georgia's aquatic resources.

The Pyne Road Park boat launch area is one of eight "mega ramp" projects completed; a total of 17 are planned. A Bassmaster event on Lake Seminole last fall enjoyed the use of another mega ramp.

One of the newest stars of the Go Fish Georgia initiative opened in October 2010. The Go Fish Education Center in Perry, Ga., provides angling information and learning experiences as well as a hatchery.

Quotes from the May 8 finale of the Pride of Georgia on West Point Lake:

  • Due credit: "Steve earned it today." - Edwin Evers on being overtaken by Steve Kennedy, who came from behind to win
  • Missed opportunity: "You don't get very many opportunities to win one of these things, and you need to make the most of your chance when it comes. I had the bites to win; I just didn't get them in the boat." - Edwin Evers, leader for two days, ending in second place
  • A fight for the win: "Every day has been a struggle. There are plenty of fish in this lake; we just haven't had the right conditions." - Steve Kennedy

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