Smallwood Goes Large With 6.5-Pound “Big Bass”

There were some largemouth bass looking for a free meal on West Point Lake on Saturday.

Coby Fuson of Roanoke, Ala. knows all about it. Fuson thought for sure he had the best fish of the day in the 11th Annual Walmart Children’s Miracle Network Charity Bass Tournament. Fuson, a youth angler, outfought and outmuscled a 5.10-pound largemouth bass.

The 16-year-old Fuson thought he had a whale. But he had five minutes of elevated blood pressure instead. A largemouth can do that to somebody.

Even to a good-natured and sporting kid like Fuson.

“My rod went over, and the fish went straight down. I was reeling and hoping on 10-pound test line. But it didn’t break,” said Fuson.

The fish was caught at 7 a.m. in one foot of water.

“I had an adrenaline rush, and this was no fluke,” said Fuson.

Unfortunately for him, however, he did not win the “Big Bass” money in the tournament. That $500 check went to Mitchell Smallwood of Lanett, Ala. He weighed in a flabby largemouth of 6.5 pounds at Highland Marina.

When Mitchell stepped on the stage at the weigh-in he thought he might have the “Big Bass.” He had already done a little perspiring out on the lake under the March sun.

“When money is on the line it can get a little jittery. I made my catch in three feet of water,” said Smallwood.

During the tournament awards ceremony, Smallwood did a little bragging. He earned it while offering some fishing advice.

“You just have to stay shallow and wear some polarized sunglasses,” said Smallwood.

Shane Hill and Jason Yawn of LaGrange can understand that. They caught 9.7 pounds of bass in the one-day tournament. Yawn and Hill fished in five feet of water, and the bass followed them.

“You never know with fishing. It’s fun in the outdoors, and you might have a great day (of catching). We lost one big fish that broke off,” said Hill.

But he and Yawn caught 10 others – largemouth, spots and hybrids. Hill and Yawn weighed in five bass.

The fish were out there on West Point Lake on Saturday for a lot of people.

“They’re starting to bite, and it got better in the tournament,” said Frank Barfield, the director of the Walmart Children’s Miracle Network Bass event.

Chris Fernsler Sports Writer