0

Fishing expo big part of bass tournament

Patrick Butler, 7, reals in a 10 pound large mouth bass on a fishing simulator with assistance by Eric Sanders of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources during the FLW Expo at the Gwinnett Convention Center in Duluth on Saturday. Butler's parents Bob and Liz look on with his brother Andrew, 5. The three day event, Friday-Sunday included give-a-ways, fishing demos, fishing gear, boats, and opportunities to meet pro anglers. The expo was accompanying the Forrest Wood Cup bass fishing tournament at Lake Lanier.

Patrick Butler, 7, reals in a 10 pound large mouth bass on a fishing simulator with assistance by Eric Sanders of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources during the FLW Expo at the Gwinnett Convention Center in Duluth on Saturday. Butler's parents Bob and Liz look on with his brother Andrew, 5. The three day event, Friday-Sunday included give-a-ways, fishing demos, fishing gear, boats, and opportunities to meet pro anglers. The expo was accompanying the Forrest Wood Cup bass fishing tournament at Lake Lanier.

Were you Spotted?

DULUTH -- Hauling in a big catch on Lake Lanier isn't exactly easy for the world's top anglers competing in this week's Forrest Wood Cup. But then again, it's no picnic fishing out of a plastic pond in the middle of the Gwinnett Center, either.

"I had one," 7-year-old Mathis Hudgins said, "but he jumped off."

Hudgins was one of many youngsters frustrated by real live trout Saturday, as they tried their tiny hands at an exhibit set up by Zebco at the FLW Expo. The expo is accompanying the Forrest Wood Cup bass fishing championship, which began Thursday on Lake Lanier and at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Running through today, the expo is a fishing enthusiast's dream -- with fishing demos, seminars from pros, boats and motors, reels, baits and, naturally, bacon. All of the tents and exhibits take up a vast expanse at the Gwinnett Center and offer a little bit of everything.

"It's awesome," Mathis' dad, Jeff Hudgins, said Saturday. "I was out here (Friday) and had to come back today with all the kids."

Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, the expo has seen thousands and thousands of visitors each day. It's a major part of the Forrest Wood experience, which brought a total economic impact of more than $23 million to the area when Gwinnett and Lake Lanier hosted the tournament in 2010.

Activities Saturday included an appearance by the actual Forrest L. Wood (the namesake of the championship and founder of Ranger Boats), a casting tournament, a seminar on antique baits and lures, and another exhibition led by professional angler Larry Nixon.

And, of course, a small pool filled with live trout where kids could do a little fishing of their own.

"You just have to shake it and make a noise and the fish will come," 11-year-old Colby Hudgins said.

On Saturday, the first 500 kids 14 and under were given free rods and reels courtesy of the Daily Post. The first 1,000 kids 14 and under to attend the expo today will get the same offer.

The final weigh-in for the Forrest Wood Cup will follow today's expo at 5 p.m. Attendance to both is free.