Plan now to attend the 2018 Military Team Event
by George Kunkle III
Last year I may have been a little remiss in not getting an article out prior to the 2017 Military Team Bass Tournament. Although, I am very appreciative of the compliments and the number of members that actually enjoy reading these pieces, I certainly heard about it at the registration and safety brief at the Farmers Market in Anderson.
The annual American Bass Anglers (ABA), Military Team Bass Tournament is my favorite event of the year. An exclusive event for current and former service men and women of our armed forces. In 2017 teams from 14 different states came from across the country to compete for bragging rights and cash payouts on Lake Hartwell, hosted by Visit Anderson and Anderson County. Neil Paul, Executive Director of Visit Anderson, his staff and the ABA team did an absolutely outstanding job making this one of the best run events I have participated in for the last 20 years. From the static displays and boat rides from the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 125th Multi-Role Bridge Company to the chauffeured weigh–in and truck/trailer pick-up, participants could not have been more pampered. I could write an entire article on how the ABA staff and visit Anderson covered every detail from launch to weigh-in. And don’t forget this year’s National Championship returns to this great venue!
Last year’s event participation was down a bit from previous years, partly my fault for not getting the word out about the change in venue. Once again it was great to see all the usual suspects there. James Sheehan and Rollin Willmon from the Reel Men Crew were there with a new rookie in Larry Ruiz and their antics were priceless. Also on hand this year were representatives of the Army Bass Anglers supporting A Soldiers Child Foundation that serve the children of military personnel who have lost their lives on active duty, while defending the United States of America.
So I’m letting everyone know to come out this year and make it a record breaking event. It’s never too late (or early) to start planning to be a part of this great event. The 2018 event May 8-11, on Old Hickory Lake, Hendersonville, TN is hosted by the Sumner County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Registration is open now so log in and get in!
Located on the Cumberland River just northeast of Nashville, you will find plenty of friendly people and southern hospitality (many country music stars have made Old Hickory Lake their backyard). Old Hickory Lake was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beginning January, 1952 and began filling in June, 1954. Old Hickory Reservoir at maximum pool has 440 miles of shoreline and contains 467,000 acre feet of water. Plenty of water with plenty of fish, in the recent Ray Scott Championship there were more than a few daily limits in the 18 to 20 pound range.
Old Hickory is consistently among the top largemouth destinations in the state. Old Hickory’s largemouth bass population has consistently produced strong year-classes, providing a high abundance of fish according to Todd St. John, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Region II reservoir biologist. Gizzard shad are abundant and the primary food source for bass but the lake also has an abundance of Tilapia which is a great food source for growing trophy largemouth.
This long winding lake has many creek arms and off river oxbows with everything from shallow “Gator” Grass to deep rock ledges. You can run miles away from the crowds up the Cumberland River or find some great action right near the ramp. At the AFT National Championship on Old Hickory in 2014 I had my best finish ever fishing within site of the ramp all 3 days. The midlake section contains most of the lake’s popular grass. Besides the Gator Grass previously mentioned the lake contains a good amount of milfoil an excellent nursery habitat for largemouth bass fry which also provides excellent habitat for older bass. Anglers from across the country can find the cover or structure they want to satisfy their confidence technique.
Typically in May you can find the largemouth still spawning along with a large number of post spawn fish just waiting for that Frog or Top Water bait. A “good” fish on this lake has been in the 5-pound class in recent years and would be a good anchor for most limits. But there are certainly many bigger fish to go for to win that Big Fish pot. So hopefully this gives you enough info to grab a partner to come out for one of the best events of the fishing season. Just go to MilitaryBass.com and sign up.
To learn more about this event for Military and DOD only visit www.militarybassanglers.com or call (256)232-0406 to register your military team.
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 Open Series, the 100% Plus Team Tour, or the American Couples Series visit www.americanbassanglers.com.
American Bass Anglers, Inc. is supported by Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Motorguide trolling motors, T-H Marine, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Best Western Hotels, Garmin, Power Pole, Optima batteries, Sirius XM Marine, and GEICO. American Bass Anglers, Inc. can be contacted at (256) 232-0406 or visit www.americanbassanglers.com.
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