GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – On Memorial Day weekend each year, Chris Lane, a Bassmaster Elite Series professional angler, his family and the folks from Mitchell Grocery, make it a point to honor those who have given their lives for this country, and to also create new memories for everyone involved in the Reeling In Future Pros Kids Camp and Foodland Bass Team Tournament.
For the 10th year, Lane, from Guntersville, Ala., hosted his Kids Fishing Camp on the shores of Lake Guntersville at Bucky Howe Park. The day provided opportunities for the kids to receive some coaching by Lane and fellow Elite Series anglers Matt Lee, Justin Lucas and Jared Lintner. They also learned techniques such as casting and knot-tying, boater safety, decorated their own lures and even caught a few fish off the dock at the park.
Editor's note: See photos from the event.
For Lane, who makes his living in the sport he loves, the event is something he does from his heart. “I remember being around events like this as a kid and having people teach me the ropes, and I want to do that for kids as well,” he said. “But, I also want to give back to this community that has embraced me and my family, and this is one of the ways that we can do that. We get to share our love of the sport, and do something for our community at the same time. It’s all about food, family, fun, and fishing.”
Each child was presented with a gift pack made possible by all of Lane’s sponsors. They received rod and reel combos and gift cards from Bass Pro Shops, along with apparel and products from Power-Pole, Mustang Survival, Luck-E-Strike, Frogg Toggs, Eagle Claw TroKar, CR&G, E3 Sports, and River2Sea. As with previous years, the kids ate a delicious lunch prepared by Tony Chachere (the world’s-greatest seasoning according to Lane); who came from Louisiana to cook for the crowd.
For the third consecutive year, Foodland, a Northern Alabama based grocery store chain, held its Team Bass Tournament in conjunction with the Kids Camp on Saturday. Four hundred anglers, representing the states of AL, TN, MS, GA, FL, LA, TX, KY, and AR, made their way to beautiful Lake Guntersville for this 3rd annual event. An angler meeting and a complimentary rib meal, prepared by Bryan Meats, were held on Friday night for the anglers and their families. The team tournament featured a first place payback of $10,000 for an entry fee of $100, and anglers competed from safe light until the weigh-in began at 1:00PM; they were allowed to bring a three fish limit to the scales. The top 50 teams received a payback this year.
The team of Grant Hopson and Wes Ward produced a three bass limit that weighed 17.85 pounds and was enough to earn the $10,000 first prize. They reported fishing ledges in the mid-lake area with 1/2-ounce green pumpkin jigs matched with craw trailers. “We fished very specific spots, and caught them all day, but every fish we weighed came between noon and 1:45,” they said. “For us to get the better bites, we had to have bait and current on the spots, and then we’d get the bigger bites.”
They reported not feeling like they had done enough to win while returning to the dock. “We’re actually really surprised to have won, we thought we were a really big bite away from winning,” they reported. “It really feels great to have won though, it’s a big field, and a big deal for the community, and we couldn’t be happier to have won it.”
The big fish of the event, a 6.88-pound Lake Guntersville largemouth, was produced by the team of Stanley McCoy and Scott Kelling; they earned a $1,000 bonus from River Rocks Plantation for the biggest bass of the event. The second largest bass of the tournament went to the team of Brian Morris and Chad Morris; they earned $500 from Bass Pro Shops for their 6.78-pound largemouth.
Along with the fun and friendly competition, there were funds raised for local schools and a family in need. At the Friday night meeting for the tournament, a silent auction was conducted to raise funds for the fishing teams at Guntersville, Arab and DAR High Schools, and $3600 was raised to be divided amongst the teams. Great Clips was also on hand providing $10 haircuts, and all of the proceeds generated were to be donated to a local family, whose daughter has developed a rare neurological disease, to help with medical bills.
Foodland’s Kirk Clark was once again pleased with the event. “Chris has always said that this event is about food, family, fun and fishing and we couldn’t agree more,” he said. “This event is a wonderful way for us to be involved and give back to our community, our customers and to do a little good along the way – we could not be any happier with the way it turned out.
“We love being able to take part in this and add something to the event overall with the tournament,” he said. “We are so grateful to be a part of it, to the volunteers who help run it, and to our great vendors for helping us by sponsoring the event.” The 2017 Foodland Bass Tournament was sponsored by Bryan Meats - the flavor of the South, Jack Links, Frito Lay, Borden, Gatorade, Bass Pro Shops, and River Rocks Plantation Tiny Home Community in Guntersville and the sponsors of Chris Lane Fishing.
The top ten finishers in the Foodland Bass Team Tournament are posted below and the rest of the standings are posted on the event website; view them by clicking here - http://foodlandbass.com/results/2017-results/
GRANT HOPSON / WES WARD
STANLEY MCCOY / SCOTT KELLING
6.88 (1st Big Bass)
MARK HORTON / DAVE RIGSBY
JESSE RIGSBY / SCOTT RIGSBY
J.D. WHITED / JOE WHITED
CHRISTOPHER JONES / JASON JOHNSON
BRIAN MORRIS / CHAD MORRIS
6.78 (2nd Big Bass)
JASON DABBS / SHANE DICK
MITCH MCCULLOUGH / SEAN PRATER
SCOTT JERNIGAN / CALVIN MCLAUGHLIN