More than 325 anglers from across the Southeast will be in Jasper this weekend for the inaugural Alabama Bass Trail Open, a one-day bass tournament being held Saturday on Lewis Smith …
More than 325 anglers from across the Southeast will be in Jasper this weekend for the inaugural Alabama Bass Trail Open, a one-day bass tournament being held Saturday on Lewis Smith Lake.
The tournament — part of the prestigious Alabama Bass Trail — is being hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County and expected to have an economic impact of more than $300,000 for Jasper and Walker County through revenue generated by anglers and their family members dining, shopping and staying in local hotels and motels.
"It's a great event for both the city and county," said Linda Lewis, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County.
"This is the first Open that the Alabama Bass Trail has hosted, and we are excited to introduce the ABT to anglers who may not have fished with us before," said Kay Donaldson, director of the Alabama Bass Trail.
Anglers will compete for more than $70,000 in prize money — including a guaranteed $15,000 payout for the tournament winner. There will also be a winner-take-all $7,500 prize awarded to one of the professional teams in the tournament.
The tournament will begin with a 6 a.m. launch at the Smith Lake Dam. The weigh-in is set for 2:30 p.m. at the dam. Both are open to the public.
Prior to the tournament, a registration and briefing will be held at the Jasper Civic Center at 5 p.m. Friday. The briefing is closed to the public.
Sanctioned by BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), the tournament trail features two divisions — Northern and Southern. Each division is made up of five tournaments on five different lakes. The maximum number of boats for each tournament is 200, and each tournament has a $15,000 guaranteed first-place prize and pays more than $70,000 through 50 places.
Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series’ sponsors include Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Garmin, T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., Jack’s, Alabama Power Company, Academy Sports & Outdoors, FishNeelyHenrydotcom, Wedowee Marine, Lew’s Fishing, Power-Pole, AFTCO (American Fishing Tackle Company), HydroWave and Yeti Coolers, Trapper Tackle and Buffalo Rock.
The Alabama Bass Trail is a program of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. Its mission is to promote Alabama as a year-round fishing destination, to preserve natural resources for generations to come, and to educate high school and college aged students to be good stewards of natural resources.
The 13 bass fishing lakes consist of Lake Guntersville, Wheeler Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lewis Smith Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Weiss Lake, Lake Martin, Lay Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lake Jordan, Alabama River (Millers Ferry), Lake Eufaula and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.
For more information on the Alabama Bass Trail and the tournament series, you can call Donaldson at 855-934-7425 or visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.
Lewis said aside from the tournament, there's several events going on this weekend in the county — including high school and college football, and the Coca-Cola Foothills Festival in downtown Jasper Friday and Saturday.
"There's so much going on this weekend that everybody should have plenty to do," Lewis said.