FLW’s Bill Taylor told commissioners Smith Lake is one of his favorite destinations.
“We could take our events anywhere, but Smith Lake is one of everybody’s favorite spots,” he said.
The fishing tournament is being hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County. Taylor said FLW’s relationship with the chamber was another reason they continue to come back to Smith Lake.
“We know when we are here and need something that it is as simple as making a call to (Chamber President) Linda (Lewis),” he said. “We needed a pothole filled near the launch and called her. The county took care of it quickly. We have to rely on the county or city that we are in for support, and Walker County has always supported us.”
Taylor said FLW is expecting 340 total anglers, including 170 professionals, at this week’s tournament.
“We appreciate you guys coming here, and if we can help in any way, please let us know,” District 3 Commissioner Bobby Nunnelley said.
Commission Chairman Billy Luster said he will be volunteering when the tournament begins early Thursday morning.
“I’ll be out there helping to park cars,” he said. “I’m very excited about this tournament. This is a great thing for our local economy.”
The tournament is being taped for television and is expected to air on NBC Sports Network in April.
“We want the entire community to support this tournament,” District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis said. “It is going to showcase Smith Lake, and showcase what we have here in Walker County to millions of people.”
Anglers will take off from Smith Lake Dam Access located at 7482 Smith Lake Dam Road in Jasper at 7 a.m. the first two days of competition.
On the last two days takeoff will be at Smith Lake Dam Access at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Smith Lake Dam Access beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1801 Highway 78 E. in Jasper beginning at 4 p.m.
Taylor, who was at the dam access Monday afternoon, said anglers had reported catching a good number of fish during practice Sunday and Monday.
“Everyone is saying the fishing is good,” he said. “It looks like they are going to be catching a lot this week.”
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
All activities are free and open to the public.
Country music artist Dylan Scott will perform a free concert on the FLW main stage prior to the final day weigh-in.
Scott will hit the stage at 3 p.m. Sunday at Walmart. He will also be performing Friday at The Greenhorn Saloon in Jasper.