Classic honeymooners

Young and in love.

That pretty much describes Taylor James, 23, and Matthew Fitzhugh, 25, of Jackson, Miss., who will marry on Feb. 18. It’s been a six-year courtship, and they’re crazy about each other.

They’re also crazy about competitive bass fishing. They’re such big fans, they scheduled their wedding day on the weekend before the 2012 Bassmaster Classic so they could spend their honeymoon week at the world championship of fishing in Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

No one should assume this is a case of the bride giving into the groom’s wishes. James is looking forward to the trip as much as her husband-to-be is.

She’s become a pro at fielding the comments of friends and relatives.

“Dear, wouldn’t you really rather go to a beach, somewhere tropical, for your honeymoon?”

That’s close to what her mother said, according to James.

The couple has attended the past three Classic events, and they don’t want to miss one. Last year, they became engaged on Valentine’s Day and went to New Orleans to celebrate — at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

“We decided we loved it so much, we would plan our wedding around the Bassmaster Classic. We are into the outdoors, we love to hunt and fish, and we like to fish together — and we love going to the Classic together,” she said.

They’ll turn out each day for the Bassmaster Classic Launch sponsored by Red River Waterway Commission. They’ll then spend time at the Shreveport Convention Center, combing through the new fishing and boating goodies at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. They’ll top off each day with the weigh-in at CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.

“The weigh-in is my favorite thing,” said the bride-to-be, a dental hygienist for a pediatric dentist (her fiancé is employed by a shipping service). “I love seeing the boats enter the arena, and the noise and fun of being in the crowd. It’s suspenseful watching to see who will weigh the biggest bags.”

One thing they’ll be sure to do this year: enter any and all contests to win a bass boat so they can upgrade their aluminum johnboat. But meanwhile they are relying on a friend to provide their chosen transport from the wedding reception: a big bass boat. They’ll sit in the boat seats and wave to their guests while their friend drives the vehicle.

Just like a Classic pro entering the weigh-in arena.

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