RHS student wins Tim Horton Bass Anglers Challenge
Some fishermen will give up and go home early when the fishing is tough, but not Gabe Wallace.
Wallace, a junior at Russellville High School, refused to become discouraged when the bites were few and far between for anglers competing in the Tim Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge on Pickwick Lake April 15. His persistence paid off, and he won the senior division of the tournament that attracted student anglers from three states. The tournament was staged out of Riverfront Park.
Wallace was able to catch only two fish, but both were giants, and his catch weighed 10.5 pounds.
“We had caught a lot of fish during practice on Friday, and I thought we were really going to whack them in the tournament,” Wallace said. “But the fishing started out slow and got even slower during the tournament. I really didn’t think I would have a chance to win, but I never let it get me down. I kept fishing hard right up to the end.”
His catch was anchored by a largemouth bass that weighed 6.81 pounds, which was the largest fish weighed in by a senior division angler.
For winning the senior division, Wallace won a $3,000 scholarship to the college, university or technical school of his choice. He also won a $1,500 scholarship to Northwest-Shoals Community College for being the top angler in the senior division from Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale or Lawrence counties. He won a $450 rod and reel for catching the largest bass in the senior division.
Also from Franklin County, in the junior division, J.O. Morgan of Phil Campbell came in third behind Phillips and Covenant Christian students with 3.15 pounds.
Since it began five years ago, the annual bass tournament that is organized by the Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau has awarded $100,000 in college scholarships. Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert Tourism, said she enjoys being a part of a tournament that helps students continue their education. “We have students tell us every year that they will now be able to go to college because they won one of our scholarships.”
Horton, a professional angler and outdoors television personality from Muscle Shoals, said he looks forward to the high school tournament every year. “For a kid who loves to fish, it’s a great way for them to help pay for their tuition,” he said.
The students fish from boats piloted by an adult.
This article is contributed by Dennis Sherer/Colbert County Tourism.