Fed Nation championship returns to Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Wheeler Lake at Decatur, Ala., has been named as the site of the 2012 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship, Oct. 25-27. The national tournament of champions includes the top B.A.S.S. club anglers from 47 states, seven international chapter champions and the Angler of the Year from the Paralyzed Veterans of America Bass fishing circuit. Invited to join the competitors is the defending 2011 champion, Jamie Horton of Centreville, Ala.

“We look forward to holding the championship in Decatur and Wheeler Lake,” said Don Corkran, director of B.A.S.S. Federation Nation. “It has been a number of years since we held this event in Alabama, and it’s great to be back home.”

B.A.S.S., formerly based in Celebration, Fla., relocated its headquarters to Birmingham, Ala., in November 2011, bringing the company back to the state where it was founded four decades ago. Part of that homecoming will be a return to one of the state’s premier lakes for the Federation Nation tournament. Wheeler Lake, located in the northern part of the state, is Alabama’s second largest lake at 67,100 acres.

“We are thrilled B.A.S.S. has selected Wheeler Lake for its 2012 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship,” said Tami Reist, president of Decatur Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This will be the first appearance for the Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship to be held at Ingalls Harbor, and we are anticipating an exciting three days of competition.”

The B.A.S.S. Federation Nation is comprised of local clubs, which are organized in 47 states and seven countries — Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe — which are part of six geographic divisions — North, South, Central, East, West and Mid-Atlantic.

This will be Spain’s inaugural year competing in the Federation Nation Championship, a coup for B.A.S.S., which has courted the country as a natural fit for the competition.

“For a number of years we have had Italy in the competition,” Corkran said. “We have been working for more than 20 years to form an organization in Spain, which has some of the best bass fishing in Europe. We finally found the right person to take the reins and get this formed.”

Heading organizational efforts is Spain’s club president, retired physician Xavier Gonzalez-Mestre, who attended last year’s championship on the Ouachita River out of Monroe, La., in November. He was instrumental in setting up Spain’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, which now has a shot at placing a contender in B.A.S.S.’ most celebrated event — the Bassmaster Classic.

The top angler from each divisional team will advance to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship. From there, the top angler from each of the six divisions in the championship will be awarded a berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic set for Feb. 22-24 at Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees in Northeast Oklahoma, with the weigh-ins and Bassmaster Classic Expo in Tulsa, Okla.

The 2012 season will kick off with the March 28-30 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Southern Divisional on Lake Okeechobee out of Clewiston, Fla. The six amateur qualifiers who advance to the Classic also receive automatic qualification into the 2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central, Northern and/or Southern Opens. The Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship overall winner also earns a berth in the prestigious Bassmaster Elite Series.

Daily launches and weigh-ins for the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship will take place at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, Ala., and are free and open to the public.

For more information about the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, go to Bassmaster.com/Federation-Series.

Originally published March 2012

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