June 15, 2012 10:41:24 AM
The National Bass Fishing Trail will hold its national tournament Sunday through Thursday in Columbus.
The NBT, which formed in 2007, hasn't had a district in the state of Mississippi since its formation. It hopes this event and a proposed junior tournament Monday will help build interest in the NBT.
"We are looking to form new districts all the time and hope that our event there and the potential junior open tourney could spark interest for someone to step up and offer to start a district there," said David Lawrie, NBT national junior director and Tennessee district director. "This could also be an opportunity for a local NBT district to be formed in Columbus."
Lawrie said the NBT needs a least 10 local competitors to hold a junior event. He said the NBT has been a training ground for younger fishermen who have went on to high school, college and Junior B.A.S.S. fishing, while some have become professionals.
The goal of the Junior Program is to provide anglers 17 and under the opportunity to participate in tournament bass fishing. Adult anglers act as mentors to help the younger competitors improve their skills.
Anyone 17 or under when yearly membership is paid is eligible to fish as a junior angler. The junior will fish with an adult, but only compete against other juniors. Juniors will fish with the adult that brings them. There will be no draw for juniors. All juniors are required to have a parental release form signed before participation in any NBT event.
"We give families a chance to fish together," Lawrie said. "(A) dad who likes to tourney fish doesn't have to leave his 6-year-old at home if they fish with us. The 6-year-old only competes against the other juniors. We have no minimum age, so they can start as young as they're ready. My son started me in all this when he was 6. He's 15 now and he's also high school fishing this year. One of my former members is on the UT Chattanooga team."
Lunch and a casting competition will follow the tournament weigh-in. The event will begin at safe light and will last until 11 a.m. Launch will be from the Stennis/Columbus Boat Ramp.
Those who are interested in competing can contact Lawrie at 931-235-6216 or NBT Vice President Donnie Story at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-777-3428. Those interested in starting a district can go to www.nbt.bass.com or contact Mike Raney at Mike@nbtbass.com or 256-762-1152.