Top military anglers head to Georgia for championship
Military anglers head to Georgia for championship
ATHENS, Ala. – Early registration begins Nov. 12 for the 23rd annual Military Team Bass Championship tournament, slated for May 8-10, 2013, at Lake Seminole near Bainbridge, Ga. Entry fee is $150 per team.
Teams that enter early will receive an added benefit. The order of entry determines each team’s launch position on the first day of the tournament. Each team will consist of two anglers. Anglers between the ages of 16 and 18 may compete with written permission from a parent or guardian. Up to 250 teams may register to compete.
Presented by American Bass Anglers, the tournament pits the best bass anglers from the U.S. Armed Forces. 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, contractors and retired military members may also fish this event. The tournament will crown an “Angler of the Year” from each of the military branches.
The Military Team Bass Fishing Tournament began in 1991 as a way to promote fishing and camaraderie among all branches of the military. 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. In 2000, Morris Sheehan, a life member who retired from the U.S. Army, bought MBAA, renamed it American Bass Anglers Inc., and relocated it to Athens, Ala.
In May 2012, Chris Webb of Decatur, Ala., and Jeff Barrentine of Hartselle, Ala., won the Military Team Bass Championship tournament, held on Lewis Smith Lake near Jasper, Ala. Both men served in the U.S. Army.
For the 2013 event, teams compete for cash prizes and national bragging rights. The top team will receive $4,520 in cash plus other prizes, based upon at least 200 entries. In addition, anglers may participate in an optional big bass pot for an extra $30 per team. The big bass pot pays back 100 percent of the proceeds to the anglers who catch the biggest bass.
Anglers may practice on May 5-7. On May 7, the USO will put on “A Salute to America’s Heroes” show, beginning at 7 p.m. The anglers will launch at safe light each day and return to the Earl May Boat Basin, located at 801 West Shotwell Street in Bainbridge, Ga. The public may attend the weigh-ins, which begin at 3 p.m. each day at the Earl May Boat Basin.
Named the 40th best bass lake in the nation by the Bass Angler Sportsman Society, Lake Seminole frequently produces many 10- to 12-pound largemouths with some topping 16 pounds. Impounded in 1952 where the Chattahoochee River, Flint River and Spring Creek merge to form the Apalachicola River near Chattahoochee, Fla., Lake Seminole covers 37,500 acres with more than 376 miles of shoreline.
The lake touches three states. The Chattahoochee River forms part of the Georgia-Alabama line and feeds into Lake Seminole from the northwest. The Flint River runs northeast up through Georgia. Since the lake sits mostly on the line between Georgia and Florida, anglers may fish the lake with either state license. For a Florida license information, see http://myfwc.com/license/recreational. For Georgia license information, see www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing.
For more information about the area, contact the Bainbridge Conventions and Visitors Bureau at 229-243-8555 or see www.visitbainbridgega.com.
American Bass Anglers is the largest tournament organization for the weekend angler. American Bass Anglers operates the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series and the American Couples Series. Each tour is designed specifically for the weekend angler, offering low-cost and close-to-home events where anglers can qualify for a larger championship. For more information on American Bass Anglers and the Military Tournament, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or www.militarybassanglers.com.