Fantasy Fishing makes a few dreams come true

Fantasy Fishing isn't for everyone. After all, not everyone knows the pros' strengths and weaknesses or how they perform on particular bodies of water or at certain times of the year. Not everyone is willing to dedicate the few minutes it takes each week or month to select a team and check its performance. And not everyone wants to win a Bass Pro Shops gift card for their efforts.


Not exactly.

Thousands and thousands of Fantasy Fishing players found the expertise, time and opportunity to play, and though not all of them won Bass Pro Shops gift cards, they all had fun, learned more about the pro game and maybe even earned some bragging rights with their friends and family.

Just ask Shannon Jones and Shane Stihl. They were two of the regular season event winners, outpacing the entire Fantasy Fishing field for the Alabama Charge and Dixie Duel, respectively, and earning a nice payday from Bass Pro Shops.

Jones, an officer with the Kentucky State Police, aspires to join the Elite Series one day. Until then, he satisfies his competitive drive fishing other tournaments and showing off his knowledge of angling talent. His winning team for the Alabama Charge on Pickwick Lake was made up of Davy Hite (1st place), Bobby Lane (2nd), Alton Jones (5th), Charlie Hartley (14th) and Billy McCaghren (19th).

As for the $500 gift card, "I spent it all and more at the Sevierville, Tenn., Bass Pro Shop on my way to Lake Fork in Texas," Jones said. "My wife bought me the trip in December 2010 for my birthday and Christmas. The win and card couldn't have come at a better time. I bought rods, line, lures and a spare prop for my Minn Kota trolling motor."

Shane Stihl is a competitor, too, and has a passion for fishing tournaments. He won the Fantasy competition for the Dixie Duel on Wheeler Lake in Alabama with Kevin VanDam (2nd place), Bradley Roy (3rd), Ott DeFoe (5th), Russ Lane (7th) and Tim Horton (8th) — an impressive showing of angling prognostication if ever there was one!

Stihl has yet to spend his Bass Pro Shops gift card, but already has plans for it. "I'll end up spending it on gear and tackle I wore out or lost this year fishing tournaments," he said. "I have to get ready for next year!"

Here are the winners from the 2011 Elite season:

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Winner Event Venue
Jeremy White Bassmaster Classic Louisiana Delta, La.
Chris Grabowski Sunshine Showdown Harris Chain, Fla.
Mark Evans Citrus Slam St. Johns River, Fla.
Shannon Jones Alabama Charge Pickwick Lake, Ala.
Brennan Halbersma Battle on the Bayou Toledo Bend Reservoir, La.
James Hunter Pride of Georgia West Point Lake, Ga.
Stanley Archacki Carolina Clash Lake Murray, S.C.
Roland Johnson Diamond Drive Arkansas River, Ark.
Shane Stihl Dixie Duel Wheeler Lake, Ala.

The overall winner for the entire season was Mitchell Oliver.

Maybe 2012 will be your year for Fantasy Fishing. Sign up, play, test your skills and you just might be rewarded for what you know about the pros.

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