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Laker Weekly | File 2008
Spectators wait to learn the winner of the SML Fishing Tournament.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Anglers of all ages and abilities — amateurs and professionals, college students and kids — will be competing to see who reels in the biggest catches this weekend and next at Smith Mountain Lake.
The professionals came to town Thursday for the EverStart Series fishing tournament, which ends Saturday. As many as 300 pros and co-anglers were expected for the first of four stops in the Northern Division.
Participants will launch from Parkway Marina in Huddleston at 7 a.m. Weigh-in will be held at the takeoff location today beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at Walmart at 1126 E. Lynchburg Salem Turnpike in Bedford, beginning at 4 p.m.
The pros will fish for a top award of $40,000, plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.
On Saturday, 50 college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Northern Conference Invitational tournament in the first of four stops in the Northern Conference in College Fishing. The students also will take off from Parkway Marina at 7 a.m. Weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 1 p.m.
The top 10 teams from each of five conference tournaments will advance to the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Among the teams participating are groups from Hampden-Sydney College, Liberty University, Longwood University, Radford University, Roanoke College, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech.
Takeoff and weigh-ins are free and open to the public for both competitions.
The 45th-annual Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Tournament, sponsored by the Optimist Club of Roanoke and Challenger Little League Baseball, returns to the lake May 3-5.
The three-day event at Gills Creek Marina will begin May 3 at 7:30 a.m. and end May 5 at noon. An awards ceremony will be held as close to 2 p.m. as possible, according to Sid Witt Jr. of Challenger Little League Baseball. Prizes will be awarded for largemouth bass, muskellunge, crappie, smallmouth bass, catfish and stripers. Up to $15,000 in prize money will be offered.
On May 4, the ninth-annual Bill Cochran Youth Tournament for anglers age 12 and younger accompanied by a paying adult and holder of a tournament ticket will be held. It will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.
Tickets are available at Gills Creek Marina and various outlets around the lake.
For more information about the FLW tournaments, visit www.flwoutdoors.com. For tournament news, visit www.facebook.com/flwfishing and www.twitter.com/flwfishing . Visit www.collegefishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.
For information on the Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Tournament and the youth tournament, call 204-2054.
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