The Alabama Bass Trail launched a new tournament series beginning in February of 2014. The team-style tournament series will be held on ten of the Alabama Bass Trail lakes with the championship tournament taking place on an 11th lake. Attracting amateur anglers from across the southeastern United States, each tournament is expected to generate an approximate $500,000 economic impact for host cities.
“Alabama is a great state for fishing,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “We have professional tournaments here on a regular basis. The goal of this amateur tournament is simple. We want to encourage more people to fish where the pros fish. The Alabama Bass Trail was established to help us share our lakes and rivers with more people. When more people come to our lakes and rivers that increases tourism. And when tourism increases, that benefits our local and state economies.”
Sanctioned by BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series gets underway Feb. 1, 2014. The tournament trail will feature two divisions: Northern and Southern. Each division is made up of five tournaments on five different lakes. Each tournament will have a $10,000 guaranteed first-place prize and will pay 20 places. Maximum number of boats is 200.
Lake Guntersville Feb. 1, 2014 hosted by Marshall County CVB
Pickwick Lake March 22, 2014 hosted by Florence-Lauderdale Tourism
Neely Henry Lake April 5, 2014 hosted by City of Gadsden Parks & Recreation
Wheeler Lake May 31, 2014 hosted by Decatur-Morgan County CVB
Logan Martin Lake June 21, 2014
Mobile-Tensaw Delta March 1, 2014 hosted by North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce
Lake Eufaula March 15, 2014 hosted by Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce
Lake Jordan April 19, 2014 hosted by Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce
Millers Ferry May 10, 2014 hosted by Wilcox County Chamber and the City of Monroeville
Lay Lake June 7 hosted by Shelby County Commission
The championship is a 125 boat, two-day event. The 125 boats are comprised of the top 50 teams in points from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective divisions along with the top 25 student boats collectively from both divisions that fished all five events in their respective division.
Hosted by Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, the championship tournament is set for October 10-11, 2014 on Lewis Smith Lake.
The championship is a no entry tournament and the first place prize is a fully-rigged 2015 Phoenix 619 Pro with a Mercury 150, trolling motor and electronics valued at $37,495 with an additional $40,000 in cash and prizes. Phoenix Bass boats will also offer the tier one First Flight incentive plan to tournament winners in a qualifying Phoenix boat.
“The Alabama Bass Trail is excited to announce this new tournament for amateur anglers. Since the launch of the Alabama Bass Trail in 2012, we have received numerous requests for the development of a tournament series. We are challenged with creating more fishing opportunities in the state of Alabama, and we believe this gives anglers in the southeast an opportunity to fish a highly competitive trail on the best lakes in Alabama,” said Alabama Bass Trail Program Director Kay Donaldson.
A few select tournaments including the February 1 launch tournament will be filmed and aired at a later broadcast on Anglers Channel reaching a viewership of over 10 million households.
“We are all grateful for Governor Bentley’s vision and will work together to make the Tournament Series a success,” said Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department. Just two years ago, Sentell, Governor Bentley, and the staff of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association began laying the groundwork for the Alabama Bass Trail. After its launch in the spring of 2012, its popularity quickly grew and Donaldson look for another opportunity to reach out to anglers.
Alabama Bass Trail Tournament sponsors include Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., McDonalds of Alabama, and Pradco-FISHING representing BOOYAH and YUM, Dobyns Rods, Randy Jones Agency – Nationwide, T & H Marine Supplies, Inc., Alabama Power Company, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, Rigid Industries, Inc., and Frogg Toggs, Inc., Go Pro and Gander Mountain. Fishlife will be the official tournament directors and Elite Outdoors Media will be the live-streaming company.
Registration will be available online beginning at noon on September 30th at www.alabamabasstrail.org. Entry fee per tournament is $250 per team or from September 30-October 30 2013, teams can register for all five tournaments for $1150.
According to Donaldson, each tournament is expected to pump an estimated $500,000 into the local economy of the host city. “Anglers typically pre-fish, or scout a location, three or four days prior to a tournament, and during this time, they patronize restaurants, gas stations, and tackle shops. During a tournament, approximately $300 is spent each day on accommodations, gasoline, food and other supplies,” stated Donaldson.
For more information, call Donaldson at 855.934.7425 or visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.