March 4, 2009
Robert Harmon doesn''t have as much time to fish as he would like.
As a criminal investigator for the sheriff''s office in Chickasaw County, Harmon needs to be available at a moment''s notice, so planning leisure time can be difficult.
This weekend, though, Harmon hopes to take a break from his full-time work as an investigator to a different kind of searching.
Harmon hopes his time will be well spent Saturday when he competes in the American Bass Anglers district tournament in Columbus.
Harmon expects to arrive in Columbus on Thursday to get a sense of the area and to look into which areas might be the best to try to catch a prize-winning haul.
Warmer weather could prove to make things even better for the anglers. With partly cloudy skies and temperatures expected to be in the mid 70s, competition for first place could be tough.
"We expect a good turnout," said Harmon, who is in the director of the Mississippi district, which is in its first year. "I feel like the fish are going to be pretty aggressive. I look for a heavy sack to come in."
American Bass Anglers is one of the nation''s largest weekend tournament series. Harmon said it is designed for the weekend angler, who has a full-time job and still loves to fish and to compete.
He said the series'' tournaments, which are in more than 40 states, are geared to make things as even as possible. He said the sites are picked in advance and there are a low entry fees ($70 for this weekend''s tournament with no late entry fee), which he said helps to level the playing field.
On Saturday, boats will launch from Waverly Landing in Columbus at safe light. The weigh-in will be back at Waverly Landing at 3 p.m. The winner will be the angler who has the most weight from a five-fish limit. There also will be a prize for the biggest fish.
Prize awards will depend on the number of competitors.
The stop in Columbus marks the first time the ABA has visited the city. It will return to the city June 7 when it stages a tournament event at the East Bank. That event will be the fourth of five the district will hold this year.
Harmon said Columbus was selected in part because of its proximity to the other locales in the state. He also the area''s accessibility to water and the strong fishing reports the ABA has received from fishermen in the area made Columbus an ideal choice.
The next event will be in Aberdeen on April 18, followed by one in Smithville on May 16, the return to Columbus and the season-finale in Bay Springs on July 29.
Those who are interested in competing Saturday can register by going to www.americanbassanglers.com, or they can go to Waverly Landing on Saturday morning.
The one-day tournament is an individual event.
Harmon said he isn''t sure how many anglers will compete Saturday. But with good weather expected after the recent rains and snow, Harmon, who has been fishing since he was a kid, feels a lot of fishermen will be itching to go out and test their skills. He hopes to be one of those competitors provided his work doesn''t need him.
"I have been tournament fishing for the past six or seven years, and there are a lot of local anglers who are real competitive, so there is some real good fishing out there," Harmon said. "It will be a pretty level field, so anybody has opportunity to place or to win it."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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