By Vince Culpepper
It’s that time of year again, when Bonnie Plants employees, along with their families and friends, head to Lake Point State Park in Eufaula, Alabama for the 3rd Annual Bonnie Fishing Classic. As in previous years, competitors had the honor of pitting their skills against those of Bonnie partner and Bassmaster Elite Series pro Keith Poche. This year’s event was the biggest and best so far, with 33 anglers traveling from as far away as New Mexico and Maryland to try their hands at catching the biggest largemouth bass.
There was a competitive spirit in the air as teams gathered at the boat ramp before sunrise on Saturday morning, with everyone joking about who would catch the most fish. Though it was overcast as the teams headed out to their first fishing spots of the day, it wasn’t long before the clouds parted and beautiful blue skies and sunshine made for another perfect day to be out on the lake.
Lake Eufaula is known for its vast array of wildlife along the lake’s shores and in its waters, so wasn’t surprising that ducks, geese, deer, alligators, wild hogs, and even bald eagles made appearances throughout the day. Not that there was much time for sightseeing: Bass fishing has been tough over the last month, thanks to falling water levels and temperatures in the 90s. Normally, a large portion of the fish population moves up into the shallow water each fall, but the fact that that hasn’t happened yet this year lent an extra challenge to the competition.
Undaunted, several teams still managed to catch their limit of 5 fish (it helped that more fish were biting in the afternoon). Michael Mims of Union Springs was the lucky angler to be paired with Poche, and together they took 1st place with a total of 13 lbs, 5 oz. “We caught lots of fish and had a great day,” Mims said.
The team of Gary Clements and Todd Culpepper finished second with a 5-fish limit of 10 lbs, 14 oz—anchored by the 4 lb, 11 oz largemouth that earned Culpepper the Big Bass Trophy for the event. With a total of 10 lbs, 10 oz. John Wayne Robinson and Theodis Youngblood finished close behind, in 3rd place. As usual, the event concluded with a raffle drawing, with every participant taking home one of a collection of great prizes, including rods, reels, tackle bags, coolers, and gift cards.
Bonnie Plants would like to thank our partners, BWI and Keith Poche, for making the 2014 Bonnie Fishing Classic another successful event. Special thanks, too, goes out to all of the employees, family members, and friends who participated. Find out more about Keith and Bonnie Plants at bonnieplants.com, and follow us on Facebook (GrowBonniePlants and Keith Poche) and Twitter (@bonnieplants and @keithpoche).