- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2003

If you’re planning on fishing over the Thanksgiving weekend, why not go to a place where you can make a bunch of money while having fun?

The Virginia Beach tourism promotion people claim that fishing for striped bass during the Thanksgiving weekend has become a holiday tradition. OK, so they’re being overexuberant. It’s no more a tradition than going after rockfish in September or October. However, the resort city again is holding the Striped Bass World Championship, open to everybody. The fun contest offers tons of prizes, and if a state record rockfish is caught during the event, the lucky angler will win $50,000 and be eligible to win an additional $25,000 tournament state record cash prize if the record stands through Dec. 31. Not bad. Imagine, $75,000 for a heavy-duty rockfish that must beat the current mark of 613/4 pounds.

The special prize money will be paid by Mercury Marine, Bass Pro Shops, Lynnhaven Marine, O’Douls and Hook & Tackle Outfitters. The event begins 12:01a.m. Friday, Nov.28, and ends at 11:59p.m. Sunday, Nov.30.

Each day during the weekend fishing event, both residents and nonresidents also will compete for $3,000 in guaranteed prizes. Last year, winning stripers ranged from 6 to 44 pounds. Everybody has a chance to fish and win in a number of categories.

To request a free copy of the 2003 tournament guidebook or to enter, write Striped Bass World Championship, P.O. Box 9646, Chesapeake, Va. 23321; call 800/822-3224; or visit StripedBassWorldChampionship.com.

Bear attack in West Virginia — According to western Maryland’s Cumberland Times-News, a bow hunter who was hunting deer from a tree stand near Franklin, W.Va., was recently attacked by a female black bear that had two cubs. The animal pressed the attack, biting and clawing both legs below the knee. The 25-year-old hunter fought the bear off with a knife, but the bear climbed a nearby tree and tried to come down on to him. The attack occurred shortly after daylight. Eventually, the hunter was able to abandon his tree stand and walk a half-mile to his car and drive himself home. He was then taken to the hospital in Harrisonburg, Va., where his wounds were closed with staples and quite a lot of stitches.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy — One of the nicest people we’ve ever met, professional bass tour angler Harold Allen, of Shelbyville, Texas, won the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society’s Bassmaster Central Open on the Ouachita River near Monroe, La., last weekend. Allen held on to the top position after two days to win with a three-day weight of 381/4 pounds, good for $15,000 and a fully rigged bass boat valued at $35,000.

It was Allen’s first BASS tour victory in 35 years of fishing, although he’s had a successful career, winning a number of tournaments conducted by competing bass tours. “I had to slow myself down,” he said. “There was never a fast bite, but it was a quality bite. You had to have patience to catch them. I fished the Darbonne Bayou area. It was really a depression in a big flat. I was fishing in about three or four feet of water, using a Brush Hog and a V&M;, a 4-inch ringworm.”

Huge store coming to Harrisburg — The national Bass Pro Shops chain, headquartered in Springfield, Mo., will open a 225,000 square-foot super store at the intersection of I-83 and Paxton Street in Harrisburg, Pa. The store is tentatively scheduled to open in spring 2005. This Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store will offer shoppers a large selection of outdoor gear, clothing and accessories from top industry names. More than just a fishing and hunting store, however, the Harrisburg outlet also will carry gear and equipment for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center will serve up a variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture, and a big boat showroom will feature the Bass Pro Shops brands — Tracker, Nitro, Mako and SeaCraft boats.

The closest Bass Pro Shops store now is the one at Arundel Mills Shopping Center, off I-97, near Baltimore.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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