As hunting season nears end, anglers begin to feel itch


Kevin Forrester, Dispatch Outdoor Writer



With the hunting season coming to a close, I am seeing more boats on the water lately.   


Anglers are beginning to feel the itch to start fishing.  


If they are slow and methodical with their lures and casts, they will find some good fishing. 


Water temperatures have slowly been on the rise from the near freezing water temperatures of a couple of weeks ago. The forecast for the coming week doesn''t look good for the continued warming trend. The ground hog saw his shadow this past week and they say six more weeks of winter, but it won''t stop the drive that anglers have to wet a hook. 


In two weeks, there will be a big event for bass fishermen. 


The Bassmaster Classic will be in Birmingham, Ala. The prestigious championship has been a long time dream for most bass fishermen to win. The top 51 anglers from all over the world will fish on Lay Lake on the Coosa River chain. 


The Classic is arguably the finest trophy award to place on any angler''s mantle. Even though it doesn''t include the highest paycheck to go with the trophy, the title of Bassmaster Classic World Champion will put thousands of dollars in the pockets of the angler''s pocket after the event. 


Mike Iaconelli found that out after winning the 2003 Classic. As he stated, "Prior to winning the Classic, I was getting $500 per speaking engagement. Once I won the Classic, I was getting $5,000 per speaking engagement." 


Sponsorships are hard to come by for touring anglers lately. With the economy at an all-time low for many anglers'' lifetimes, many touring pros have lost many of their sponsorships and are having to dip in their own pockets for entry fees and other expenses. 


 A Classic win would set some concrete sponsorships for the winning angler for years to come. Most touring anglers still have sponsors for small equipment and lures, but the Classic win would seal a sponsorship for boat, towing vehicle and most expenses. 


The Bassmaster Classic will be Feb. 19-21. Weigh-ins will be daily at teh Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex as well as tackle and lure vendors and plenty of activities for children. This is really a family event and a weekend angler can learn many things about equipment and tackle before each weigh-in just by browsing all the exhibits. 


Also during the event, B.A.S.S. announced there will be the inception of the Bassmaster College Classic. For all of the Alabama and Auburn fans, this will be more to cheer about. Each college fishing team will have three two-man teams competing for the title on Lake Logan Martin in a one-day event and the winning school will be recognized at the Bassmaster weigh-in on Feb. 20. 


The winning college will then defend its title next year in New Orleans at the Bassmaster College Classic against one of the Louisiana universities.  


The Bassmaster College Classic will have its weigh-in at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Toyota Tundra booth. The booth is located in the Expo at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. 


It is not often that the Bassmaster Classic comes to our area. This is the perfect time for all of our weekend anglers to go and support their favorite pro. Also, come and support the college fishing teams. This is a new venture for the sport and we should support it. 


I hope to see all of our weekend anglers there. 




Kevin Forrester contributes an outdoor column to The Commercial Dispatch each week. He can be contacted at [email protected] 




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