By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 6, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 6, 2012) -- Fort Rucker's outdoor recreation will hold its 2-man Buddy Bass Tournament to give people a chance to win cash and bragging rights.
The fishing tournament will be held Sept. 15 at Lake Tholocco with cash prizes for the winners: $500 for first place, $400 for second place, $300 for third place and $100 for the biggest fish, according to John Clancy, outdoor recreation and Lake Tholocco lodging manager.
"We hold the tournament to give people a chance to build camaraderie and give them something to do to compete against each other," he said. "It's Soldier against Soldier for a little bit of friendly competition, but anyone can participate."
The tournament will start at daybreak and go until the weigh-in at 2 p.m. At the beginning of the tournament, teams will be assigned a team number and will leave the marina depending on their number, said Clancy.
"We'll call out for the teams to leave the marina," he said. "They won't all be leaving the dock at the same time."
Up to 25 boats will be allowed to participate in the tournament with two people per boat, and only artificial bait is allowed to be used. The boat limit was put in place to give participants more room to fish.
"When we first started the tournament, we allowed as many boats that wanted to enter the tournament enter," said Clancy, adding that it was soon apparent that the lake, as large as it was, was not big enough to accommodate that many boats for the tournament.
"We had 57 boats the first time we did the tournament," he said. "The problem was that people were complaining that others were too close while they fished, so we reduced the number of boats allowed to 25, which is perfect."
Clancy said the reduction of boats allowed provided fisherman plenty of room to enjoy the tournament as well as give them a better chance to win, but exceptions can always be made in some cases.
"Last year we did allow 26 boats to enter the tournament because the participants, who were wounded warriors, couldn't get in touch with us in time," said the ODR manager. "We took a consensus with the participants and they said they had no problem with the wounded warriors fishing with them," adding that the wounded warriors ended up winning the tournament.
The tournament is for Soldiers and civilians alike, said Clancy, but people who participate, not just in the tournament, but in fishing on Fort Rucker must have an Alabama state fishing license as well as a permit to fish on the installation.
"After they get their state fishing license and Fort Rucker permit, they just need to register with us at outdoor recreation for the tournament," said Clancy. "They don't have to go through any classes or anything like they do with hunting."
If people wish to operate a boat, however, participants are required to take a boater's safety course on Fort Rucker, according the ODR manager. People can do so by visiting the outdoor recreation website and clicking the boating safety course link.
"The course is about 20 or so questions. They'll take it, bring it to us, and we'll grade it and give them their card," said Clancy.
Outdoor recreation has five or six boats that are available to be rented out for the tournament, but otherwise people need to provide their own boats.
Clancy said the winner of the tournament is determined by the weight of the team's collective catch, which will be a maximum of five fish per team and a deduction of three ounces for every dead fish. In the event of a tie, the winner will be decided by the biggest fish. Clancy claims that people that fish in Lake Tholocco have a chance at breaking the state record for biggest bass.
"The state record is 14 pounds and we we've been about four or five ounces short of matching the state record," he said. "Fort Rucker has a type of Florida largemouth bass and they are gluttons. They will eat every little fish they can suck in, so they put on the pounds fast."
During the tournament, people not only have the chance to win cash, but they have the chance the catch the biggest bass they've caught in their life, according to Clancy.
For more information, call 255-4305.