Professional Anglers Flock To Fort Gibson Lake For Bassmaster Tournament

Thursday, September 6th 2012, 5:54 pm
By: Craig Day

Competitors from across the country will brave the heat for a shot at big prizes and money.

At Taylor's Ferry North on Fort Gibson Lake, everything is being set up for the first day of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster central open.

More than 150 boats with 300 anglers will crisscross Fort Gibson over three days, competing for $250,000 in cash and prizes.

Oklahoma has proven to be a popular destination for Bassmaster events.

"There are tremendous fisheries here in Oklahoma and we never overlook it when we're looking to create a new schedule each and every year," said tournament director Chris Bowes.

Not only are there some of the best professional anglers from all across the country here, there are also international competitors taking part in the event from Japan, Australia and Canada.

11/10/2011 Related Story: Green Country Hooks Huge Event That Will Bring Millions To Local Economy

The tournament also attracts a lot of spectators.

"It's just fun to get to see the pro you follow on TV fishing out here," said Tulsa resident Lance Robinson.

The tournaments are fun for the growing number of fans that follow professional fishing, but also make a big impact on the area economy.

"They're going to spend anywhere from a week to ten days in town, of course they're staying in the local lodging, at the local eateries, buying fuel and various other things," Bowes said.

"There's a lot of money that comes with these," said Oologah resident Bob Fair.

And there's a lot of attention gained for Oklahoma and Fort Gibson Lake.

"Kind of gives people a taste of what Northeast Oklahoma has to offer," Fair said.

The remaining weigh-ins are set for Friday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. at Taylor's Ferry North, with Saturday's final weigh-in at 3:45 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops in Broken Arrow.

The winner of this event could qualify for the Bassmaster championship set for Grand Lake in February, which is like the Super Bowl of bass fishing.

Another central open tournament will be held in Oklahoma on the Arkansas River in 2013.