The best military anglers in the country will gather at Clarks Hill Lake in Columbia County, Ga., on May 5-7, 2011, to fish for bragging rights and a trip to Costa Rica during the 21st annual American Bass Anglers Military Team Bass Championship.
“We are excited to be going to Clarks Hill for the 21st annual meeting of our Team Military Bass Anglers,” said Morris Sheehan, ABA president. “Clarks Hill is a great fishery with plenty of room for everyone to spread out and find their own honey hole. The lake has plenty of big fish in it and boasts a largemouth record of 14 pounds, 14 ounces! This is just the kind of lake where the military bass anglers like to compete.”
The team tournament runs out of Wildwood Park in Columbia County, Ga. Also called J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir, the largest lake in Georgia covers 71,535 acres on the Savannah River about 30 miles northeast of Augusta. Forming part of the Georgia-South Carolina line, the reservoir offers more than 1,200 miles of shoreline. Numerous feeder creeks flow into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir.
“Columbia County, Georgia, is delighted to host the 2011 ABA Military Team Bass Championship on Clarks Hill Lake,” said Barry Smith, director of Columbia County Community & Leisure Services. “We extend a warm welcome to all branches of the Armed Forces who will participate in this event. We certainly hope their visit to our community will be an enjoyable one and they will find our fishery a grand experience.”
Any active duty military or Coast Guard member, Department of Defense civilian, retired military member, honorably discharged veteran, military family members at least 16 years old and DoD contractors can participate. Angling teams of two people pay $150 per team to enter, if the team registers by April 23, 2011. After that, the entry fee rises to $175. Anglers can also enter an optional big bass pot for $30 per team with the hope of collecting cash rewards for landing lunkers. Each team may weigh in up to five bass per day.
After three days, the team with the largest bag will win a 3-night, 4-day big game fishing adventure to Los Sueños Resort and Marina in Costa Rica. On an 1,100-acre planned community, Los Sueños encompasses a private 600-acre rainforest reserve; a 201-room five-star Marriott hotel; more than 500 luxury residences, a full service 200-slip marina, an exclusive Beach Club, an 18-hole championship golf course and many other amenities. The winners will fish the Pacific Ocean for marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo and other species, courtesy of Early Times Kentucky Whisky and JDC Marketing.
“Early Times Kentucky Whisky is extremely proud to sponsor the Military Team Bass Tournament once again this year,” said Joe Murray, brand manager for Early Times Kentucky Whisky. “We are so grateful for everything our military men and women give of themselves for our country and this is a small thank you from us to them to show our appreciation.”
In addition, one lucky person will win a seven-day vacation to any destination in the world served by the Armed Forces Vacation Club in a drawing. Other high tournament finishers will receive cash prizes, based upon the total number of entries.
The public may attend the free weigh-ins, which begin at 3 p.m. each tournament day at Wildwood Park. In addition, the Bama Girls, all former Miss Alabamas, and other acts will entertain during a free USO show, slated for 7 p.m. May 3 at Patriots Park.
“We would love for the public to come out to see the weigh-in,” said Debra Talley, the ABA national marketing director. “We’ll have some vendors there with food, refreshments and other things people can purchase.”
The Military Team Bass Fishing Tournament began in 1991 as an event to promote camaraderie among all branches of the military and to show gratitude to those who served the nation. Today, the tournament recognizes the ‘Angler of the Year’ from each of the military branches as bragging rights for the participants.
“I’m looking forward to fishing my seventh military team tournament,” said Chris Bolden, a Navy veteran who fished his first military event in 2005 at Lake Eufaula. “I’ve always wanted to fish Clarks Hill Lake. I enjoy fishing local tournaments at home.”
“This will be my first military tournament,” said Mike Shull, a 10-year Army veteran. “I heard about it through friends who fished it last year and decided to give it a try. My friends said they had a blast and enjoyed swapping fish tales as well as war stories.”
The event is sponsored by: Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Busch Beer, Royal Purple, Early Times Whisky, Gary Yamamoto Baits, Probass Networks, Rejunvenade, Hobie Polarized, Lucky Craft Lure, Moon Pie, Mobile Gardian and the Armed Forces Vacation Club.
For more information on the Military Bass Anglers, call (888) 203-6222. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers offers over 1,000 tournaments per year in 40 states that are designed for the weekend angler.
American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers and the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.