By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily
Ingalls Harbor will be the launching site for a unique fishing tournament this fall.
Japanese angler Kota Kiriyama, who finished in the top 20 of last week’s Bassmaster Classic, will stage his first American Dreams tournament in the United States. The winner gets a free trip to Japan to tourney fish there.
Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Kiriyama loves Decatur and Wheeler Lake and felt honored Kiriyama choose the city for his special event.
Kiriyama even grabbed the microphone during a weigh-in at Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex and told the crowd how much he loved Decatur, she said. He also stood by the visitors bureau’s booth during weigh-ins, signing autographs and giving away shirts, she said.
Kiriyama, who lives in Moody, previously organized tournaments in Japan in which the winners got to come to America and fish, Reist said, and Oct. 23-24 will be the first time he’s done the tournament in reverse. He arranged for Japanese television crews to tour Decatur on Wednesday to help promote the event in his home country.
“If we can get 100 anglers, we’ll be happy,” Reist said of drawing people to Kiriyama’s tournament. “And I’m sure we’ll get more than that.”
Kiriyama finished 16th in last week’s Bassmaster Classic at Lay Lake after reeling in a combined weight of 27.1 pounds. He has qualified for the event six times, including the past three years.