Fishing for a cause

Published 11:10 pm Thursday, July 10, 2008

A night fishing tournament at Lake Mitchell will benefit Camp Smile-A-Mile, which is a non-profit organization for state children that have or have had cancer.

The tournament, which is sponsored by Birmingham Bass Masters, has become an annual staple at the lake. Past tournaments have raised more than $140,000 for Camp SAM.

The Bass Masters club, which was organized in 1969, is the oldest such organization in the Birmingham.

Though some have already registered, anyone that is interested and has not registered will need to do so beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday. The tournament will last from 6:30 p.m. that day to 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The cost to register is $100, $10 of which goes to a big fish pot.

With a minimum of 40 boats, the tournament will feature a $1,000 first-place prize. $600 will go to second place, $500 to third, $400 to fourth, $300 to fifth, $200 to sixth and $150 to seventh through 10th.

Reaching the minimum number of boats shouldn’t be too difficult, tournament director Tippy Smith said.

“We’ve averaged 70-80 boats the last three or four years,” Smith said and added that about 20 percent of entrants so far are Clanton residents. “These guys come from all over. They’ve been fishing this tournament for years.”

In addition to the prize money, many door prizes will be given away, including rods and reels, gift certificates, boat trailer tires, ice chests and more. Usually, as many as half the participants receive some kind of prize.

There will also be a “zero weight drawing.” Fishermen that didn’t do well enough to place in the money can dump their fish without weighing in. That saves everyone a little time, but that also puts the fishermen into a drawing for $100.

Camp SAM provides year-round programs to children that have or have had cancer at no cost to their families.

The camp allows these children to attend an overnight camp by offering chemotherapy and other medical treatments they need.

For more information, call Smith at (205) 824-7723 or Jim Weems at (205) 655-7067.