Local anglers fish with the pros

Published 11:48 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Doug Williams of Franklin, right, participates in the 2011 Bass Pro Shops' Northern Open Tournament with professional angler Brett Mitchell. SUBMITTED/ALESIA WILLIAMS

RICHMOND—Two area anglers participated in the 2011 Bass Pro Shops Northern Open Tournament on July 7-9 on the James River.

Doug Williams of Franklin and David Nunnally of Emporia, who also compete in the Franklin-based Three Rivers Tournament Series, in November registered as co-anglers for an opportunity to fish with Elite Pro Anglers in Richmond.

“It was an awesome experience, especially when we found out that over 20 of the pro anglers were Elite Series Anglers,” Williams said. “It was quite a surprise when we saw big names like Mike Iaconelli, Boyd Duckett, Dave Fritts and Greg Hackney come sit down beside you and talk bass fishing.”

“We really got to ‘live the dream’ by fishing in this tournament, and I hope one day we get to do it again,” he added.

Co-anglers were paired to fish with a different pro-angler each day. Williams fished with pro Brett Mitchell the first day.

“It does limit your style of fishing because you have to fish the pro-angler’s game,” Williams said. “So if he’s onto a fish, then you may be too, but it does work the other way as well.”

The top 12 anglers from each group qualified to fish on the third day. Some of the Elite Pros who didn’t qualify volunteered to take disabled veterans in their own tournament event.

The final day of weigh-ins was held at the Bass Pro Shops in Richmond. Pro-angler Kelly Pratt of Williamsburg won the tournament with a three-day total weight of 42.6 pounds.

The complete results of the tournament are on www.bassmaster.com.