2nd new bass tournament casts a line on Lake Norman

Lake Norman will be the site of the second stop of the new Professional Anglers Association Bass Pro Shops Tournament presented by Carrot Stix Fishing Rods.

Up to 150 of the country's best bass anglers will converge on Lake Norman Aug. 12-14. This is the second event for the 2010 Tournament Trail. The entry fee is $2,500 per angler. The tournament will be filmed, and the Professional Anglers Association has a regular radio schedule. The economic impact of this new event is expected to be more than $80,000, organizers estimate.

Ten of the best local anglers will compete for up to $10,000 in cash and a Nitro Z-8 fully rigged bass boat.

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Bryan Thrift from Shelby recently won "FLW Angler of the Year," and won $125,000 in the FLW National Guard Tournament back in March at Lake Norman.

Brent Long from Cornelius won $125,000 last month in an FLW tournament on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. His 20 bass weighed over 95 pounds. Brent's father, Larry Long, Lincolnton, just won $50,000 in the 2010 FLW Fantasy Fishing Contest.

Brent Long is sponsored by "Visit Lake Norman," and his boat is wrapped with their logo. Both anglers are registered to compete next week. But, eight more local anglers will also give it their all to take home the big prize.

Those competitors are Chris Baumgardner, Gastonia; David Hendrick, Cherryville; Guy Eaker; Brian Mathis, Charlotte; Jason Quinn, Lake Wylie; Robert Stiltman, Mooresville; Pat Tierny, Denver; and Brian Travis, Conover. Eaker, at 70, is the oldest competitor on the tour and plans to retire (mostly) after this season.

The Professional Anglers Association is operated by the anglers themselves, unlike the Walmart FLW and BASS, as a unified voice to help in the growth of the sport.

An extra event will be a Pro-Am Tournament at Mountain Island Lake. This tournament will give anglers a chance to fish with pros in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

The event will be on Saturday. The tournament is open to anyone, but official Professional Anglers Association bbservers that participated in the two days on Lake Norman will get first dibs. Volunteer pros that did not make the final 30 cut will fish with the anglers. The event will use a "catch, weigh, release" format, weighing the bass on certified Bog Grip Scales. Entry fee is $300 per amateur. Top prize is a $500 Bass Pro gift card.