Bassmasters tournament brings boost to local economy

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - It's the second year the world's best anglers have taken to the waters of Lake Jordan.

And one thing is for sure.

"Ya know, it's getting some recognition," says nearby resident Matthew Nixon.

Nixon lives on the lake.  He's grateful for the Bassmasters competition.

"I think it'll really help with traveling and stuff like that. It's a great fishery. Compared to other lakes in Alabama, I just don't think there's any like it," he says.

Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis says the event is a win-win for both Bass and the nearby cities.

"Been a lot of publicity. It'll go out worldwide. We can sit down and watch it on ESPN and enjoy it and get to see our city shown and promoted throughout the United States."

But the anglers will tell you, conditions here present a challenge.

"It's extremely hot," says Angler Aaron Martens.

"I don't think I've ever fished 90 plus to 92 degree water," says Skeet Reese.

It makes strategy even more important.

"Electronics play a big part of it--to be able to find the fish. That's the biggest part of it here. There's a lot of water that doesn't have fish and there's a lot of water that does," says Martens.

Two-time defending Angler of the Year, Kevin Van Dam, says he'd like to go somewhere different.

"We need to constantly hit new water and new places."

But it won't happen next year.  Mayor Willis says they've reeled in Bassmasters for a third time.

"We're excited about it being back again," he says.

It's a good catch for folks like Nixon, anxious to keep his home-turf on the map.

"It's just kinda been a secret up till now. I think this will be some good publicity for us."

The tournament on Lake Jordan continues through Sunday, but the river region gets a double dose of Bassmaster competition. The 12 anglers make their way to Montgomery next weekend where the contest wraps up and the Angler of the Year is named and awarded a $200,000 prize.

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