Adam Sharp, director of the Cedar City Bass Anglers, is determined to keep his tournament competition simple and fair.
“We fish only single-person tournaments,” he said. “I know that nowadays most tournaments pair two fishermen, but I think that one man, one boat is the best way to fish. Nobody gets any help from a partner.”
The reason for fishing two men to a boat – often paired at random – is done in big-time tournaments to assure that both anglers abide by the rules. Big prize money can sometimes lead to big temptations to fudge.
Sharp says that’s not a worry for him.
“Our tournaments are all conducted on the honor system,” he says. “They are restricted to our members, and we all trust each other. We’ve never had single problem.”
In order to make the tournaments as fair as possible for every fisherman who competes, the Cedar City Bass Anglers allow no “pre-fishing,” as is done prior to most big pro tournaments.
“When we have a weekend tournament we don’t allow any pre-fishing Monday through Friday,” Sharp said. “That makes it fairer to the working man who can’t take a week-day off to pre-fish and check out the lake. Everybody starts even.”
Sharp, who directs six annual club tournaments out of his home in Lebanon, says Cedar City Bass Anglers is a spinoff of another local fishing club that originated in the 1970’s. It became dormant in the 1990’s, and Sharp revived it in its current form in 2003.
Thirty-eight members pay annual dues of $60 to help offset costs of the operation. There is an additional entry fee for each tournament, with the fees going to prize money, plaques and other awards.
Sharp has some 40 local sponsors that help with the finances.
“We couldn’t make it without our sponsors,” he said. “They make everything possible.”
Most of the tournaments are fished on Old Hickory, Percy Priest and Center Hill lakes. At the end of the “regular season” the top 10 fishermen – determined by a NASCAR-type points system – will compete in a $1,000 season finale at a “mystery lake.”
Last year’s finale was held at Pickwick Lake. This year’s is set for September at a yet-announced location.
“We’re just a bunch of area fishermen who enjoy each other’s company and like to compete,” Sharp said. “We don’t allow any alcohol or rowdiness. We want our weigh-ins to be events that wives and kids can attend.”
Sharp also oversees a Thursday night tournament fished out of Davis Corner on Old Hickory Lake, April through September. Unlike the Cedar City Bass Anglers, whose tournaments are limited to members, the Davis Corner tournament is open to all comers.
For information about the Cedar City Bass Anglers or the Davis Corner tournament visit cedarcitybass.com or call Sharp at 418-2822.
“We welcome new members,” Sharp said. “We feel like we’ve got a good fishing club with a lot of great people, and we hope to keep it growing. Sometimes it seems like some of the bigger tournaments have kinda lost sight of what fishing is really about. We believe ours has the right perspective and we invite folks to check us out.”