One of the most successful major events ever held in the Augusta area came to a close last Tuesday afternoon as the final fish was weighed in the Georgia BASS Federation Top 6 Classic on Strom Thurmond Lake.
Ninety-three six-man teams and one six-woman team (Georgia Peaches) wound up catching nearly 2,500 bass weighing more than 4,400 pounds. Ninety-six percent of that catch was released alive back into the lake.
Everybody -- tournament officials, fishermen and sponsors -- was happy, except the individual anglers who didn't weigh in a bass over the two-day event.
Its success was due to hard work on the parts of the Greater Augusta Sports Council (Tammy Stout and staff), Augusta Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (Julie Brakenbury & Co.) and the Fort Gordon Recreation Area's Karen Peak and Bill Wren.
Sharing the spotlight were sponsors Pair of Jacks (Jack and Sandi Hayes), American Sportsman (Paul Gray), Pump 'N Shop (Jimmy Holt), Little River Marina and Family Resort (Pam Bugg), Buckeye Lures (Roy Altman), Pepsi-Cola (Lee Ansley) and Kmart (Ronnie Long).
Also coming in for praise was area federation director Jay Jennings of Twin Cities Bassmasters, who had his own praise for Henry Bordeaux and Don Kohli of the Suburban Bassmasters.
Kohli finished 14th, but is one of two alternates who will be called to substitute for any Top 12 team member not able to compete in the Southern Division tournament in June.
None of those involved in the tournament are resting on their laurels. Future plans call for a bid to be made to the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society for its Southern Division federation tournament in 2003. There also is the possibility of the state federation championship returning that same year.
Loyd Crow, who will be a judge in the competitive shooting program at the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, also is a Georgia BASS Chapter Federation board member. He handled the computer chores during the Strom Thurmond Lake tournament this week. ... Steve Burch, founder and publisher of Georgia Outdoor News, and staffer Brad Gill videotaped the tournament, but it won't be shown in Augusta. There's no market here, Burch said. However, he has promised to send the writer a copy and local bass clubs will be able to borrow it for programs. ... Nearly half of the tournament competitors had served as veterans in the various armed forces. ... the Georgia Peaches Bass Club will hold a club tournament on Thurmond Lake next fall.