TRIMBLE – Thirty-five boats took to Smith Lake Saturday for the third annual Fishing for a Cure 4ALS Tournament. Conditions at sunrise were cloudy, then turned into sunshine with the temperature hitting the low 90s by the time the event ended at 2 p.m.
The purpose of the event was to raise money for the Alabama Chapter of the ALS Association. ALS is better known across the country as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The third year of this fundraiser took place in September for the first time, after being held in July in 2014 and during the month of April last year.
Marc Harris, one of the organizers, said the plans are to possibly move it to later in the fall in 2017.
The Harris family, who is behind this event, hopes to see participation increase each year.
More than $36,000 has been raised from its creation for ALS. The money goes to research and patient care.
Diane Harris' husband, Danny, has been diagnosed with the condition and is getting regular treatment. He was able to be a part of the weigh-in ceremony.
Four high school teams took part in the classic. The winning tandem was Brayden Martin and Dawson Segers, sophomores at West Point High School. The duo brought 3.86 pounds of live bass to the weigh-in scale, defeating two other teams from West Point and a group representing Fairview High School.
For Martin, it was a chance to relax after a busy Friday night working as the deep snapper for the Warriors' football team. West Point got its first victory of the 2016 season in a 42-10 rout of Springville.
He went from full pads to fishing gear as he and Segers fought challenging conditions and found a shallow location on the lake shortly after sunrise to get some momentum that carried them through the rest of the day.
Martin and Segers will prepare to return to Smith Lake Oct. 15 for the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association (ASABFA) district qualifier. The duo is part of the third year of West Point getting deeply involved in high school fishing. The tandem were just two ounces from finishing fourth in the high school city vs. county challenge at Smith Lake in May.
The big fish from the tournament was claimed by well-known local angler Rex Chambers. Chambers had a bass weighing 4.04 pounds. Chambers finished ninth with 9.95 pounds of live fish caught.
Locust Fork students Trace Swindall and Ricky Campbell had the fifth best total at 11.53 pounds. Finishing fourth were Jesse and Jarrett Wiggins with 12.71 pounds.
In third place, Brian Morris and Jeff Miller claimed 13.65 pounds. The runner-up was the husband and wife team of Spencer and Diane Lynn at 15.37 pounds.
Claiming the title were Miles Smith and Spencer Smith with 15.74 pounds. The Smiths live on the lake near Big Bridge. "We were blessed today," the Smiths said.
Marc Harris reported most of the teams fishing were local, with a few coming from Huntsville and Birmingham. The event has drawn anglers from the state of Georgia in the past.
Harris said the event is growing due to having no issues regarding rules and regulations, plus having money to pay out beforehand.
The weigh-in was a festive atmosphere with the teams coming in between 1:30 and 2 p.m. to see where they stood on the day after spending about eight hours on Smith Lake.
Ten to 12 groups arrived to register by 4 a.m. that added to a respectable number of 70 anglers on the lake for the second weekend in September.
The Harris family will continue to show support to ALS by taking part in the walk-a-thon in Huntsville on Sept. 24. Those who want to donate to the Danny Harris team can do so by going online to http://qrne.ws/alswalk.
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