Two local armature anglers brought home a big prize in a national bass fishing tournament this month.
The Heartland Anglers tournament series’ final tournament of the year was held on Oct. 13 with over 270 boats competing. Rodney Campbell of Yerkes and Denton Asher of Wooton were able to claim the first place spot by a good margin at the Heartland Classic in Tennessee’s Chickamauga Lake. This win earned them a fully rigged 2012 Margay Bass Cat Boat valued at over $27,000.
This is the second year that Campbell and Asher have competed in the Heartland Anglers series. Heartland Anglers was created to offer major tournaments and winnings to the average working man angler, Asher noted.
Both Asher and Campbell work for Arch Coal and fish when they get the chance. While they have fished together for years and have won competitions before, this was by far the largest.
“I have been in fishing tournaments for about 20 years and would win a few here and a few there, but nothing ever like this,” said Campbell. “I have never fished for a boat.”
Both said the Heartland Angers tournaments have grown in the two years that they have competed. Last year first place was around $1,000, whereas the 10th place prize was over $1,000 this year.
“We have seen an increase,” said Asher. “Last year I think there were 225, boats and this year there were 275 boats.”
Heartland Anglers uses 100 percent of the entry fees to go back to the competitors in the form of pay outs. Campbell and Asher said that having major competitions like this in which the average fisherman can be involved helps to promote the sport and bring more people to it.
No professionals or anyone who has fished on the professional level are allowed to enter these tournaments. “If you have fished a tournament with a $1,000 entry fee you can’t enter it,” Campbell explained.
Tournaments are held in six states and about 40 locations. There are over 40 divisions with tournaments on lakes as close as Buckhorn and Carr Creek.
At the two-day tournament, Campbell and Asher were able to turn in 30.45 pounds of fish. This set them handedly above the other competitors with the next closest turning in 28.05 pounds. This was a major change over last year where they placed around 70 out of 225.
“We changed our strategy, we slowed our fishing down,” said Asher “That lake is set up for our style of fishing.”
Campbell joked that the difference between last year and this year was that they caught fish. “Fishing is a whole lot of luck,” said Campbell. “One time you make the right call.”
When asked how they thought they could share the boat, Asher replied that they plan to sell their new boat and split the money evenly.
For more information on Heartland Anglers you can visit www.HeartlandAnglers.com.