National fishing tournament coming to River Region

WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - When do a few days of fishing turn into an economic bonanza for a small town? When it's a national fishing tournament.

Call it a big catch for Wetumpka and Montgomery.

Bassmasters is scheduled to hit the water here at Lake Jordan and the Alabama River in September, bringing in the Elite 12 to test their skills in some of the River Region's premier fishing holes.

"We're excited about the impact and the exposure," said Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis.

The exposure doesn't stop in Wetumpka, it even stretches upstream to small towns like Slapout where the Bassmasters Tournament is the hot topic.

Slapout resident Crystal Lawrence says, "ESPN is something Slapout's never seen," but folks in Slapout know about fishing.

That's especially true for workers at the Boy's Store, the last stop for most anglers headed to Lake Jordan. Owner Paula Holly says she's banking on the tournament to bring in extra traffic and maybe even a few celebrities.

"That would be exciting, maybe we could get them a Boy's Store hat or t-shirt."

It's a small town event that's expect to reel in a big boost for Bassmasters and the River Region.

The tournament is set for September 12 and 13. Once the Elite 12 have finished fishing in Wetumpka they're headed to Montgomery to try their hands at the Alabama River for three days.

City officials expect more than 5,000 spectators at the weigh-in at the Riverfront. They've even booked the Zac Brown Band to perform at the amphitheater during the tourney.