Guntersville, Ala. – Each year, on Memorial Day weekend, when the whole country turns its focus on remembering the men and women of the U.S. Military. Bassmaster Elite Series pro and 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane along with his family and friends at Mitchell Foods / Foodland Grocery Stores add giving back into the equation.
Editor's note: See photos from the event.
Lane, who moved to Guntersville, Ala. nearly a decade ago, held his 11th annual Chris Lane Kids Fishing Camp at Bucky Howe Park in the Spring Creek arm of Lake Guntersville this past Memorial Day weekend. The camp is a way for Lane to share the love of his occupation with young people in an effort to grow the sport, but it is also a way for him to show appreciation to his community.
For the whole of the event, the children rotate through stations coached by Elite Series pro Justin Lucas and Devin Campbell, as well as local high school fishing team members and coaches. Each of the attendees receives instruction in fishing skills such as proper casting technique, rigging of rods, decorating lures, riding on pontoon boats and catching bluegill, bass, catfish and drum from the docks at the park.
As has happened in each of the previous events, the young participants received a gift pack from some of Lane’s outstanding sponsors. They received rod and reel combos and gift cards from Bass Pro Shops, along with apparel and products from Power-Pole, Luck-E-Strike, Frogg Toggs, Eagle Claw TroKar, TH Marine, Costa and River2Sea. The kids and their parents were treated to lunch prepared by Tony Chachere, who came from Louisiana to cook for everyone. They had a selection of cold Gatorade beverages to enjoy as well.
Lane said the event has significant meaning for him and his family. “Fishing is my profession and it was at events like this I learned to love the sport enough to make it a career,” he said. “I have been so fortunate in my career, and so accepted by the people of Guntersville, that I’ve wanted to share this sport with my community and give something back to them. This event is all about food, family, fishing and fun for us, and we hope the people of this community feel that.”
The fourth annual Foodland Bass Team Tournament was held in conjunction with Lane’s Fishing Camp again this year. The event; which is limited to 200 teams, features a $100 team entry fee that produces a $10,000 first prize, paychecks to the top 40 places and first and second big fish prizes worth $1,000 and $500. The teams fish from safe light, with the first flight due back at Bucky Howe Park at 1 p.m.; they may present a three-fish limit at the scales.
As for the tournament, the team of Charles Thompson and Walt Mullins proved to be the most successful team for the day. The Georgia based team’s three-fish limit came to a total of 19.63 pounds and included the 7.94-pound second biggest fish of the event. Their effort earned them the $10,000 first prize along with the $500 bonus from River Rocks Plantation for having the second biggest bass of the event.
The pair was shocked and overjoyed by the outcome. “We absolutely love coming to Lake Guntersville, so fishing this event was just another excuse to be on this lake; we did not expect to have a day like this,” they said. “This is the biggest event that we have ever won; we are absolutely stunned and so happy to be standing here as the winners of the event; it’s been a great day.”
The pair reported running just north of the power lines near Seibold and fishing a grassy ledge to catch their fish. They reported catching a total of nearly 50 bass on 1/4-ounce Spot Remover Shaky Heads matched with green pumpkin Zoom Magnum Trick Worms.
The day’s Big Bass prize was presented to the team of Mitch Smith and Jimmy Shaver who finished the event in fifth place, but their creel was anchored by the 8.20-pound lunker that earned them the $1,000 bonus from River Rocks Plantation for the event.
David Mitchell, president of Mitchell Foods and Foodland said that the event is something he and his team look forward to each year. “This is something we look forward to each year now,” said Mitchell. “There is no telling how many hundreds of hours our people put into this, but it is worth it to give back to our community, and to be a part of something the Chris (Lane) has dedicated a ton of time to as well. He is such a genuine person and a great ambassador for our area that we want to be a part of sharing his vision and add something to the day; it is just a true joy for us to be a part of.”
The top 10 finishers in the Foodland Bass Team Tournament are posted below and the rest of the standings are posted on the event website.
Fish Weighed / Alive
Charles Thompson/Walt Mullins
7.94 2nd Big Bass
Heath Martin/ Jesse Martin
Wes Ward/ Chad Hall
Alan Barrett/ Tyler Caldwell
Mitch Smith/ Jimmy Shaver
8.20 1st Big Bass
Tim Buckner/ Connie Buckner
Brandon Smith/JT Thomason
Lance Whitaker/ Jeremy Briscoe
Jeffrey Moore/Kenneth Moore
Bryon Luman/ Keith Miller