Smith Lake Wal Mart Bass Fishing League


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Posted by David on October 29, 2004 at 21:22:23:

Anyone besides me have a problem with them changing the slot limits for these fellows? What makes them better than the average guy that they get to keep what would normally be undersized fish that would get you and I a ticket? I live here and I dont get that kind of preferential treatment. Bad enough they come here and blast by at dangerous speeds creating what I consider a hazard and now they are given ''preferred status''


SMITH LAKE - More than 600 anglers from across the country learned this week they'll have a little better chance of weighing in fish during this weekend's Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League tournament on Lewis Smith Lake.

The reason: A somewhat controversial slot limit that restricts what fish can be kept has been lifted for this tournament.

The current slot limit on Smith Lake says any fish between 13 and 16 inches long has to be returned to the lake. For this weekend's BFL tournament, any fish more than 12 inches long can be weighed. Following the weigh-in, all fish will be returned to the lake.

"It's not exactly just lifting the slot limit," said BFL tournament director Ron Lappin, who said a state marine biologist will be on hand during the tournament to conduct a marine survey on the fish caught.

"I've got to supply a director to stand behind the man who's weighing the fish," Lappin said, "and he's going to count the number of spotted bass compared to the number of largemouth and determine the size. We will have to make a report on that."

Lappin said a number of states that have slot limit exemption programs have similar processes that have to be followed. All anglers and co-anglers in this weekend's tournament will be issued special permits exempting them from slot limit restrictions.

"You have to make a real explicit report on pounds caught, dead fish, etc.," Lappin said. "But we do that on a regular basis."

Lappin said he expects anglers participating in the tournament to not change the way they fish the lake because the slot limit has been lifted.

"The two or three guys I've talked to who are what you would call local people have said it would change what they do, more than it would cause someone who hasn't been to Smith Lake before to change their routine," Lappin said.

The move is expected to indirectly lead to more anglers participating in this weekend's tournament.

Lappin said an additional 15 to 20 anglers had made the trip to Jasper this week, perhaps in part due to the slot limit being lifted for the tournament.

"It could very well give us more anglers," Lappin said.

Todd Lee, a Jasper angler who participates on the Wal-Mart FLW series, said he thinks lifting the slot limit albeit for this tournament only is a positive thing that can lead to bigger and better things on the lake.

"I think the slot limit has been wonderful for Smith Lake, and has been wonderful for the lake," Lee said Wednesday afternoon. "As I was growing up, you'd have a hard time catching fish 14 to 16 inches long. Because of the slot limit over the last 10 years, now you can catch lots of fish over 16 inches long in given times of the year."

The biggest advantage to lifting the slot limit for this tournament is simple economics, Lee said.

"To bring people in from across the United States and to have a fair fishing tournament, the slot limit needs to be rescinded for national, multi-day tournaments," Lee said.

Lee expressed appreciation to Barnett Lawley, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, for making the decision to lift the limit for this weekend's tournament.

"I appreciate the commissioner so much for taking this step," Lee said. "I believe this is going to really keep Jasper on the map as far as the potential to host fishing tournaments from around the country."

Efforts to reach Lawley for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday.

The Chevy Trucks Wild Card event is the final chance for anglers and co-anglers to qualify for the All-American tournament next spring.

At stake during this weekend's two-day tournament is six slots for anglers and co-anglers.

As of Wednesday morning, 662 anglers and co-anglers were scheduled to participate in this weekend's tournament.




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