ATHENS, Ala. – The best military bass anglers in the country will compete for prizes and bragging rights during the 24th annual Military Team Bass Tournament, presented by American Bass Anglers.
Slated for May 7-9, 2014, at Lake Eufaula, the tournament will run out of Lakepoint State Resort (www.alapark.com/LakePointResort) in the town of Eufaula, Ala. The anglers will practice on May 4-6. On May 7-9, the teams will fan out across the 45,181-acre reservoir along the Chattahoochee River spanning part of the Alabama-Georgia border.
“Eufaula is honored to host the Military Team Bass Tournament,” said Jack TIbbs, mayor of Eufaula. “It is a great way for the city of Eufaula and Barbour County to show their appreciation to the men and women of our United States Armed Forces.”
Each two-person team may bring in up to five bass per day. The weigh-ins will begin at 3 p.m. May 7-8. On May 9, the final weigh-in will start at 2 p.m. All weigh-ins are open to the public and will take place at Lakepoint Resort.
Any active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, Reserve or Coast Guard member may fish in this event. Families of military members, honorably discharged veterans, Department of Defense civilians, military contractors and retired military members may also fish this event.
To register online go to: https://www.americanbassanglers.com/proddetail.php?prod=MilitaryBassTeam or call (256)232-0406
“It’s an opportunity for the military to get together to have fun and for us to show our appreciation for what they do for us,” explained Morris Sheehan, president of American Bass Anglers, Inc. “We’ll have a registration and dinner for the anglers on May 6 before the tournament begins. We’ll also give away some door prizes to the anglers. The military members will have an opportunity to fish, have a good time, meet new friends and enjoy camaraderie with fellow service members.”
In 1975, ABA began as the Military Bass Anglers Association, an organization dedicated to providing bass anglers in the military an opportunity to compete in tournaments with other military members. The Military Team Bass Fishing Tournament began in 1991 as a way to promote fishing and camaraderie among all branches of the military. In 2000, Sheehan bought MBAA, renamed it American Bass Anglers Inc., and relocated it to Athens, Ala.
“The tournament was actually started at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma years ago and was held by various bases over the years before we took it over,” Morris said. “It’s something that’s just for the military.”
Morris expects about 100 to 200 teams to participate. The tournament pays cash prizes to the top anglers, depending upon the number of entries. In addition, the Armed Forces champion team will earn a free dream trip to Ray Scott’s Trophy Bass Retreat (www.rayscottbassretreat.com) at the home of the fishing legend near Pintlala, Ala.
About 15 miles south of Montgomery, the fabled Ray Scott’s Trophy Bass Retreat includes three lakes on Scott’s ranch. Outdoor Life magazine named Scott’s fishing resort the “Best Bass Lake in America.” The most famous lake, Presidents Lake, covers 55 acres. Both Presidents Bush and many other dignitaries fished the lake over the years. It produced bass exceeding 13 pounds in the past.
“When we drove across the dam and saw Ray’s place on the other side of the lake, it was just a surreal experience,” recalled Keith Bardolf, one of the 2013 champions with David Brown who fished Scott’s lake. “We never ran out of new places to fish or new techniques. Whatever we wanted to throw, we could find a place on the lake to fish it. Later, we had lunch with Mr. Scott for about 90 minutes. It was a lifelong dream come true. It was an amazing experience to sit down with the guy in his own place and listen to his stories.”
Brown and Bardolf won the 2013 Military Team Bass Tournament, held May 8-10 on Lake Seminole. The team landed a three-day tournament limit of 15 bass weighing 67.05 pounds for a 4.47-pound average. They capped their catch with a 5.01-pounder caught on Day 1.
In addition, the service teams will fight each other for annual bragging rights. Each team will earn points based upon how it finishes. At the end of the tournament, officials will tally the points and determine the service team winner.
“There’s quite a bit of competition, not just among individual teams, but among the different service groups,” explained Morris, a retired U.S. Army sergeant major. “They all want to earn the annual bragging rights for their service team.”
Officially dubbed Walter F. George Reservoir, Lake Eufaula dates to 1962.
Bassmaster magazine ranked the reservoir as Number 41 on its list of the top 100 bass lakes in the United States for 2013. Over the years, Lake Eufaula produced many double-digit bass with excellent numbers of 1- to 4-pound bass and plenty 5- to 8-pounders. It still produces occasional double-digit fish including a few up to 12 pounds.
Since the lake straddles the Alabama-Georgia line, anglers can fish in the main waters with a license from either state.
For Alabama fishing license information, see www.outdooralabama.com/licenses/fwfishlicinfo or call 888-848-6887.
For Georgia fishing license information, see www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes#Recreationa Licenses_and_Passes or call 800-366-2661.
The event will also be held on Lake Eufaula in 2015 and 2016. For Eufaula area information, call the Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce at 800-524-7529, or see www.eufaulachamber.com
For more information on this tournament, call ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
To Register Online go to: https://www.americanbassanglers.com/proddetail.php?prod=MilitaryBassTeam
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Weekend Bass Series, the American Fishing Tour or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com