Casting on the Coosa: big tournament to come
By Marty Dixon
As I write this week’s column a day earlier than usual, I can’t wait to have 99 of the best anglers Bassmaster has to offer on Lake Neely Henry next week. It should be a good week to entertain this line of real hammers. We have fish spawning and after spawning, as well as the spotted bass always present. This tournament is a major score for Mr. Hugh Stump and the Greater Gadsden / Etowah County Tourism Board, as well as for the town of Gadsden. We should have many visitors for this event which will help bring much appreciated money to our local economy.
Sponsored by Whataburger, this Bassmaster Elite event will present $ 100,000 to the winner with a total purse of approximately $ 760,000. The tournament will run May 6-9 with Coosa Landing launches around 5:45 a.m., with a weigh-in starting at 2 p.m. The event is free to the public with parking at The Venue with the Riverwalk open. On Saturday and Sunday, an outdoor exhibition will be organized with various local and outdoor vendors. The exhibition is also free and will run from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. I encourage everyone to bring the whole family and experience the whole event. Parts of the event will be televised and most of it will be available via the Internet.
The tournament features a version of Alabama Gang fishing in which 12 Alabama anglers participate. Two or three are local hammers that you might see fishing at our local Tuesday and Wednesday night tournaments throughout the summer at Coosa Landing. The Alaba-ma gang is led by local hammer and former Angler of the Year Scott Canterbury, Matt Herren, and young Wes Logan. Other members include Justin At-kins, Clent Davis, Justin Hamner, Kelley Jaye, Steve Kennedy Will Widler, Kyle Welcher, and last but certainly not least, Gerald Swindle. Several other well-known and successful anglers will also be on hand, including several former Classic Champions including Rick Clunn, Jay Yelas, Jason Christie, Seth Fieder, Brandon Palanuik, Greg Hackney and David Fritts, to name a few. . I get carried away with names a bit, but it’s not very often that we have such a strong field in our backyard.
With the water temperature warming and the river recuperated from all the rains, we should see several good bags of scaly fish. Expect a good bite of the morning water, and anyone who can work out the midday bite and current flow will disagree. The pros are expected to start arriving in town on Sunday May 2 to get down to the lakefront ahead of the tournament.
Enough of the excitement of the big guns coming into town for the usual fish fight. I myself caught a few still in the creeks last week, returning for the fish litter. I try to stay in a positive frame of mind and bring fish to the boat. It’s that or disc golf.
I will say my fishing time was on the decline due to the garage and boathouse cleaning. I fished for a few days, but only in small spurts. Brother Butch managed to cross one or two here and there while still being shallow. I’m ready for the frog bite which is my favorite thing for fishing.
Thanks to The Chief, these are the results of Tuesday night’s tournament. The big winners were Chris and Matt at 8.57 pounds, second place went to Homer and Matt at 6.94 pounds, and third was LC and Chad at 6.22 pounds. The Big Fish went to Hunter and Rodney with a 4.20 pound lunker.
Hope to see everyone at the expo. I plan to be there for autographs and photoshoots (insert a slight sarcasm here). Give these guys some room next week because they are fishing but also making a living. Until tournament week, I wish you tight lines and bigmouth glory!
Marty Dixon graduated from Sardis High School in 1982 and retired high school teacher and coach. He was the head coach of the Gadsden State women’s basketball team from 2015 to 2019. He and his wife Texann live in Gadsden. He can be contacted at [email protected] and the Neely Henry Bass Fishing page on Facebook.