By Army photoMarch 19, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- It may be bass fishing that draws the most attention, but anglers aiming for a different challenge can catch one March 27 when they participate in Outdoor Recreation\'s Pan Fish Tournament. The tournament lasts from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Lake Tholocco, according to John Clancy, ODR business manager. Registration for the event is ongoing and costs $10 for ages 16 and older and $3 for children 15 and younger. Those 16 and older must have valid post fishing permits and Alabama fishing licenses. Anglers can capture four different types of pan fish - bluegill, shellcracker, crappie and bream - during the four-hour event. Fishers must obey state limit laws, which are 30 crappie and 50 each of bream, bluegill and shellcracker. Crappie must also be at least 9 inches long, the ODR manager said. Clancy said one particular type of fish will be biting well by tournament time. "There's a real good chance to catch limits of crappie because they're getting ready to spawn," he said. Participants can opt to fish from boats or on the bank. Areas within 50 feet of any boating docks or ramps are off limits, Clancy said. Winners are determined by total weight of fish caught. ODR staff awards plaques to the top-three totals, and all participants are eligible for door-prize drawings. Daleville resident Wendy Henderson, who won the first two events in 2007 and 2008, said it is a great activity for novice anglers and differs from bass tournaments. "Just put the worm on the hook and throw it out there," she said, noting she enjoys pan fishing more than bass fishing because "it is more relaxing. When you're bass fishing, you have to be on the ball. There's more skilled involved." Clancy said the event provides one more activity for Soldiers and Families to enjoy in support of the Army Family Covenant. "It's another program for Families to come out and enjoy our facilities. If they get tired of fishing, they can rent a boat or kayak or just enjoy a picnic at the park," he said. "Families get a chance to look at the place, and we get to talk to them about what we've got to offer." For more information or to register, call ODR at 255-4305.