By the Decatur Daily
Bassmaster’s top 2011 angler to be crowned in Decatur
Decatur tourism officials have learned that BASS will crown its Angler of the Year at the conclusion of the Bassmaster Elite tournament held on Wheeler Lake on June 19.
Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, compared the event to NASCAR naming its top driver at the end of the race season, as the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year is the highest individual achievement in bass fishing, based on points earned during the season.
“It is a huge deal,” she said, “and the ESPN coverage as well as the added number of people coming to the River City to see this event is incredible news for our area.”
BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) informed Reist on Wednesday of changes in the Bassmaster Elite postseason that set up the award announcement for Decatur.
The $100,000 award will go to the angler with the most points from the 2011 season at the end of the Bassmaster Elite tourney in Decatur June 15-19. But that won’t be the end of the fishing season for top Elite Series pros.
In July, BASS will begin a new playoff. The top eight anglers in points, including angler of the year, will be invited to Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, beginning July 23, with preliminary competition on Lake Jordan near Wetumpka. In addition, Bassmaster fans will be able to select four wild card competitors from the Bassmaster Elite Series lineup, based on votes cast on www.Bassmaster.com.
Reist said the event gives Decatur another chance to show BASS that Ingalls Harbor is the premier tournament facility in America and Decatur would be an ideal home for BASS headquarters.
In August, Reist sent a letter to new BASS owner Don Logan, a Morgan County native, offering Decatur to become the new headquarters. Its current headquarters is near Orlando.
“We’re going to do a big blowout to let (BASS) know how much our people love bass fishing,” Reist said. “Just imagine the crowds, ESPN, the new owner of B.A.S.S. all here for this event and seeing the pavilion 75 percent complete. This shows the people visiting our area that our leaders see the importance in economic development and tourism.”