Elite anglers lend a hand

ROGERS, Ark. — The next Bassmaster Elite Series event isn't until next week at Bull Shoals Lake, but it looked like the kickoff for an Elite Series tournament Thursday night here at the Embassy Suites hotel. (See photos from registration.)

Chris Lane, the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion, was among 15 Elite Series anglers attending the pre-registration event for Friday's second annual H.O.O.K. (Helping Out Our Kids) Charity Bass Fishing Tournament, presented by Sam's Club. The one-day event will be held on Beaver Lake.

"I was asked to be here about four or five months ago to help a good cause and to grow the sport of bass fishing, and I said, 'Absolutely,'" stated Lane, who lives in Guntersville, Ala.

As a side benefit, a tournament day of bass fishing on Beaver Lake might provide some clues for the Elite Series event at Bull Shoals next week, as both Corps of Engineers lakes are on the White River in Arkansas' Ozark Mountains.

"I haven't been to either one in my life, so maybe it will help," Lane said. "But I'm not looking at it that way. I'm just here to help a good cause."

Beaver is the "home lake" of Elite Series pro Mike McClelland, who lives in nearby Bella Vista.

"The bass in this lake are in every phase of the spawn right now," McClelland said. "There will be fish caught on a lot of different baits in this tournament."

Last year the tournament drew 97 boats in this buddy-format event and raised $25,000 for the Children's Miracle Network.

"We've got 130 boats registered now and we could be close to 200 for the tournament," said Jason Piper of Rogers, one of the event organizers. "I just want to make it bigger and bigger. We'd like to double what we did last year, so $50,000 is our goal."

Also in attendance Thursday night was JM Associates founder Jerry McKinnis, who is also one of the B.A.S.S. owners.

"I was asked to speak here tonight and help put this event together, and I was glad to do it," McKinnis said. "I asked many of the Elite Series anglers to be here and the answer was a universal, 'Yes.' There were some schedule conflicts for some of them, but everybody that could be here is here.

"Most of them were on their way to Bull Shoals, and they'll be fishing similar water to what they'll see next week."

Besides Lane and McClelland, the other Elite Series anglers competing Friday include Rick Clunn, Davy Hite, Jeff Kriet, Jason Quinn, Bobby Lane, Brent Broderick, Travis Manson, Jamie Horton, John Murray, Stephen Browning, Charlie Hartley, Scott Ashmore and J Todd Tucker. (See photos from registration)

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