SHEFFIELD - Some fishermen will give up and go home early when the fishing is tough, but not Gabe Wallace.
Wallace, a junior at Russellville High School, refused to become discouraged when the bites were few and far between for anglers competing in the Tim Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge on Pickwick Lake A
pril 15. His persistence paid off and he won the senior division of the tournament that attracted student anglers from three states. The tournament was staged out of Riverfront Park.
Wallace was able to catch only two fish, but both were giants and his catch weighed 10.5 pounds. Andrew Chambers of Phillips High School in Bear Creek finished second in the senior division with 9.89 pounds. Levi Lamar of Hartselle High finished third with 8.39 pounds, Clayton Birdyshaw of Rogers High was third with 7.99 pounds with Briana Tucker of Hartselle rounding out the top five with 6.82 pounds.
“We had caught a lot of fish during practice on Friday and I thought we were really going to whack them in the tournament,” Wallace said. “But the fishing started out slow and got even slower during thetournament. I really didn’t think I would have a chance to win, but I never let it get me down. I kept fishing hard right up to the end.”
His catch was anchored by a largemouth bass that weighed 6.81 pounds, which was the largest fish weighed in by a senior division angler.
For winning the senior division, Wallace won a $3,000 scholarship to the college, university or technical school of his choice. He also won a $1,500 scholarship to Northwest-Shoals Community College for being the top angler in the senior division from Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale or Lawrence counties. He won a $450 rod and reel for catching the largest bass in the senior division.
Matthew Chambers of Phillips High won the junior division with a 4.21 pounds catch. Laurel Fogle of Covenant Christian School in Muscle Shoals finished second with 3.63 pounds. Rounding out the top five in the junior division were J.O. Morgan of Phil Campbell with 3.15 pounds, Hunter Estis of Muscle Shoals with 2.57 pounds and Jackson Ferguson of Rogers with 2.11 pounds. Estis had big fish with 2.57 pounds.
Chambers was elated with the $3,000 scholarship he won for being the top angler in the junior division for students in grades 7-9. His brother Andrew won a $2,000 scholarship for finishing second in the senior division for students in grades 10-12. “This is going to help us a lot when we go to college,” Matthew Chambers said.
Since it began five years ago, the annual bass tournament that is organized by Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, has awarded $100,000 in college scholarships. Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert Tourism, enjoys being a part of a tournament that helps students continue their education. “We have students tell us every year that they will now be able to go to college because they won one of our scholarships.”
Horton, a professional angler and outdoors television personality from Muscle Shoals, said he looks forward to the high school tournament every year. “For a kid who loves to fish, it’s a great way for them to help pay for their tuition,”
The students fish from boats piloted by an adult.
Join Bassmaster Pro Tim Horton, winner of the 2017 Elite Series Tournament on Lake Okeechobee, at the 2017 Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge on Pickwick Lake April 15. A major change for this year’s tournament is the senior division – for students in grades 10-12 – is open to students from all states. In the past, the tournament has been limited to Alabama residents. Students will compete for $20,000 in college scholarships. For more details call Colbert County Tourism at 256-383-0783 or 800-344-0783.
SHEFFIELD, Ala. – A big change is coming for the Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge fishing tournament, which has awarded $80,000 in college scholarships since 2013.
The senior division at this year’s Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge on Pickwick Lake is open to students from throughout the United States in grades 10-12. In the past, the tournament has been limited to Alabama students. The junior division, for students in grades 7-9, at this year’s tournament remains limited to Alabama residents only. The tournament, on Saturday, April 15, will be staged out of Riverfront Park in Sheffield.
“I have had kids from all over the country asking me if they could fish the tournament,” said Horton, a professional angler and outdoors television personality from Muscle Shoals, Ala. “By opening up the senior division to students from other states, this year’s tournament is going to be huge. There’s no doubt it will be our largest ever.”
The tournament is organized by the Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau. Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert Tourism, said the influx of out-of-state anglers into the tournament will be a boom for tourism.
“We’ve had students and their parents from Illinois, Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee and other states calling and emailing our office wanting us to expand the Timmy Horton tournament to student anglers from other states,” Hamlin said. “It seems like everybody wants to come fish for those big bass we have Pickwick Lake and have chance to win a college scholarship.”
The tournament offers $20,000 in college scholarships. The tournament is open to students in public, private and home schools.
Prizes and scholarships will be awarded to the top five individual anglers in each division. In addition, prizes and scholarships to Northwest-Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals will be awarded to the top anglers in the senior division who live in Colbert, Franklin Lauderdale or Lawrence counties in Alabama. Students do not have to be a member of a fishing team at their school to participate. Students will fish from boats operated by adult captains.
Highlights from the tournament will be televised nationally on World Fishing Network.
Pickwick Lake in northwest Alabama belies the notion that all good things must come to an end. Completed in 1938, the bass fishing in this storied 47,500-acre Tennessee River reservoir is better than ever.
Bassmaster Elite Series tournament angler Timmy Horton was a fishing guide at Pickwick before he became one of the top bass pros in the country. He still fishes Pickwick often and is astounded by what the lake is producing.
“Last spring you had to have 30 pounds to have a shot at winning any bass tournament here,” Horton says. “A 20-pound limit no longer gives you bragging rights at Pickwick.”
Electrofishing by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources found that Pickwick’s largemouth bass were fatter than bass from other Alabama reservoirs in 2008. That was a harbinger of better things to come. Read More