I'll be home in 2014

I’ll tell you what, few things excite me as much as fishing a tournament on my home lake, Lake Guntersville. I absolutely love the water, the fish, the area and the people. In February of 2014, when we fish the Bassmaster Classic here, you’ll get a taste of what I mean and why I like this place so much.

There are a host of people who were involved in this. I can’t name them all, but I do want to take this opportunity to thank a few of them in this column. Former Mayor of Guntersville, Bob Hembree, and our current Mayor, Leigh Dollar, worked hard for this honor. So did, Lisa Socha, President of the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Mayor of Birmingham, William A. Bell Sr., and Governor Robert Bently played a big role, too. Of course, without B.A.S.S. — and I mean every person from the ownership on down — none of this would have happened. It was a bass fishing community effort all the way.

As many of you know, the Classic has been in Alabama 12 times and hosted by Birmingham eight times. There’s a reason for that. This is one of the best bass fishing states in the country, and we have the infrastructure to support big tournaments. When you get here you’ll be impressed.

I’m going to make a few predictions while I’m at it. The crowds will be historic. Bass fishing is a tradition around here. It’ll show when the doors open for the Expo and when the weigh-ins start. That’s been our tradition in the past. Nothing will change in 2014.

Another thing is that I expect you’ll see record weights at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. There’s no doubt that Lake Guntersville is one of the best bass fisheries in the nation, especially if you’re targeting big, trophy-sized bass. I can’t say that 10 pounders are ordinary, but I can say that they’re caught with some frequency. And there’s no better time to target them than February.

Imagine what’s going to happen when 50 or so of the very best competitive bass anglers in the country are turned lose on a lake like that. It’ll be something to watch, I’ll tell you that. And, with 69,000 acres of water to fish, you can bet she won’t fish small. Guys will be able to fish darn near anywhere they want without rubbing rails.

The last thing I want to mention is the spectator boats. I’m going on the record right now saying they’ll be out in record numbers. They won’t cause any problems, though. The people around here know bass fishing, and they respect it. They’ll watch but not interfere. That’s the way we do things in Guntersville.

If I sound excited, it’s because I am. This is one of the highlights of my career. I feel like a little kid with a new toy. Now, I have to make sure I have a good 2013 season so that I’m fishing in it and not watching it from the shore.

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