Tournament Trail’s Long History
Means More Than Just Fishing
Athens, AL - As competitors in the upcoming American Fishing Tour National Championship plan their arsenal of attack, most admit although it’s exciting to discover new lakes, and be fishing for the Championship title, it’s also a time of renewing old friendships. Grove will play host to the 36th annual meeting of the competitors from October 20-26, hosted by the Grand Lake Association.
“In 1972, as flight engineers in Vietnam, in combat assault resupply missions in support of the ground troops not only in South Vietnam but also in the Cambodia theater of operations, I met Ted Theodore”, said Bob Medeiros, AFT Director from Massachusetts and ABA Hall of Fame inductee. “When I found out we were going to Oklahoma for our National Championship, my first thought was to see if there would be an opportunity to look up my old friend”, said Medeiros. “When I called and told him the news of us coming there, he said I’ll drive my RV down from Elk City, and we can renew old times and old friendships”, he continued.
“Many of our missions were quite hazardous, as we took ground fire on almost every day & night. Ted went back to the States in June ‘72 & I stayed until my 12 month tour ended in Nov. ‘72. We have stayed in contact since then & our friendship has endured since. I’m looking forward to getting some photos with Ted for my memory portfolio. I will say this without any reservations, if I had to have a friend anywhere in the world, I would want it be Ted. In country, we shared many memories, of our camaraderie, with our troops, but the sad ones are ones that will live with us forever as they are difficult to erase from our memory. As we look back, we ‘Nam vets have a saying, "All gave some but some gave all." God bless all that served, & over time, we have been called heroes but, the heroes are the ones that didn’t make it home”, concluded Medeiros.
Jim Pollard, Director of Massachusetts Division 97, is looking forward to the trip to the midwest. "I’ve never fished on Grand Lake, but I’m certainly looking forward to trying my angling skills there", said Pollard. "I guess most any lake in Massachusetts could be called one of my home lakes. Most of the lakes are small compared to lakes like Grand, and I do pretty much the same on any of the area lakes. Oddly, one of the best bass lakes according to Bassmaster.com is Congamond which is really close to home. Sadly that lake seems to beat me every time. I’ve had the opportunity to fish the Regionals on Ontario and Kerr, Nationals on Pickwick and Guntersville, and Couples Championship on West Point lake, but I’m really excited over Grand because it’s so completely different from any of those. I’m not exactly sure of what and how I will fish, but I’ll certainly have some of the same baits tied on that I use here in Massachusetts, but will try a few things during practice and see how they work out. If nothing works in practice I’ll go with what I know”, continued Pollard. “But, although fishing may be the primary reason I’m going, renewing old friendships is probably one of the very best parts of an ABA National Championship”, concluded Pollard.
“For me, the competition and camaraderie from fellow ABA members and to be part of an organized National bass fishing tournament trail that provides anglers an opportunity to go to different lakes and fish are the main reasons I fish ABA”, said Mitch Oldnettle, Director of Florida Division 114. “At the Lake Guntersville championship I was fortunate to be paired with a fellow angler that has many of the same common interests as I do. Since the day we met, I have fished and talked with him on a regular basis. The ABA takes different people from completely different parts of the country and builds great friendships between them”, he said.
“Living in Florida and fishing Seminole for the most part, Grand Lake will be a huge change for me”, he continued. “I have fished all the National Championships in the past seven years including, Kentucky Lake, Lake Guntersville, Smith Lake, Lake Murray and others…. none of which I’m told are anything like Grand. You know, we don’t get out to the Midwest very often, so it will be great to see our fishing friends from there that don’t get to always make the National Championships. Fishing a new ‘famous lake’, rekindling old friendships, and enjoying a great sport that gives us all the chance to be outdoors--- it doesn’t get any better than this”, Oldnettle concluded.
The public is invited out to watch and cheer on their favorites. The "Angler of the Year" competition weigh-in will be held on Saturday, October 20 at 3:00pm at Tera Miranda on Monkey Island. The regular competition for the National Championship title will continue each day, Wednesday - Friday, October 24-26, with weigh-ins each afternoon at 3:00pm. The 2012 National Champion will be crowned on Friday, October 26th. Make plans now to attend!
The 2012 National Championship is sponsored by the Grand Lake Association, Tera Miranda Resort, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Royal Purple, Angler’s Advantage Insurance, Early Times Kentucky Whisky, Anheuser-Busch, Carlisle Tire & Wheel, Odyssey Batteries, Keep Alive, ProBass Networks, Rejuvenade, US Reel, Simms Outdoors, and MossHawg.
For more info visit the website at www.americanbassanglers.com or call 256-232-0406.
About American Bass Anglers
The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series provides weekend anglers a professionally operated competitive tour with a path to the world championship of bass fishing the Bassmaster Classic. American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide 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 and the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com