Springfield, MO--The first weekend in April, residents around Table Rock Lake may be hearing strange sounds and seeing bright lights on the lake at night-sounds not commonly heard or seen on this lake renowned for family boating, skiing and bass fishing. But lake residents need not worry. The sights and sounds will be those of the Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats 2013 U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship. This Big-20 format bowfishing tournament will be held Saturday, April 6th beginning at 7pm and continuing through Sunday, April 7th at 7am at the Long Creek Marina on Table Rock Lake. The U.S. Open will offer something for everyone -from the ultra competitive tournament team to the casual bow fisherman shooting in his first tournament.
Bowfishing-a method of catching and retrieving fish using specialized archery equipment-is a sport almost as old as man himself. Tens of thousands of years ago, ancient peoples used primitive bows and specialized arrows which enabled them to catch fish and obtain food. Today, this fun and exciting sport is still an activity to get food, but is also a way to practice your archery skills at the same time.
Perhaps most importantly, bowfishing is a way to help control invasive fish species that threaten game fish and their habitat. No game fish, such as bass, can be taken during this event. Fish harvested by bowfishing usually include common carp, grass carp, bighead carp, drum, buffalo and alligator gar among others. These type of fish disturb game fish beds, stir up mud which affects water clarity and are a source of competition for food.
"Bowfishing has a positive effect on sportfishing as it eliminates invasive species like carp which feed on the same food as popular game fish like bass and crappie," said Chris Vitello, Chief of Fisheries for the Missouri Department of Conservation.
According to Bob Ziehmer, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation archery is a growing sport in Missouri and the department is committed to establishing Archery in the Schools across Missouri. "Bowfishing allows an individual to take the skills from archery and utilize those skills on the lakes and Streams of Missouri," said Ziehmer.
More than 90 boats with some 300 to 400 anglers from about 25 states are expected to participate in this 100% payback event which also guarantees some great prizes like a TRACKER 1860 Bowfishing Boat (an $18,000 retail value!), a new bow, a First Place cash and prize package worth $5000 and much, much more. Please visit www.basspro.com/usopen
for more tournament information and complete rules and regulations. To pre-register for this exciting event please visit www.Centralpro-am.com
. Registration will also be available at the tournament site between 4pm-6pm, however; to be eligible to win the boat and bow you must be pre-registered up to 72 hours prior to the event and you must be present Sunday morning, April 7th, at the fish weigh-in to win.
Scores of exciting, colorful custom bow fishing rigs will be on hand including airboats, fan boats, kicker and trolling motor boats. The action kicks off Saturday, April 6th beginning at 2pm at Long Creek Marina as anglers prepare their boats to launch. At 4pm there will be live music and entertainment, merchandise booths, participating and sponsoring vendor booths, kids' activities such as a 'practice' bowfishing tank, inflatable BB gun range, a casting competition and lots of giveaways. The exciting King of Bucks mobile exhibit featuring 25 world record whitetail mounts will also be on display. FREE hot dogs and sausages will be available beginning at 4pm, while supplies last. Then, come back for the exciting fish weigh-in Sunday morning, April 7th, beginning at 7am.
All fish harvested during the tournament will be donated to Loggerhead Acres Turtle Farm in Strafford, Missouri. Owner John Richards is excited to help with the harvested fish and sees bowfishing as having a positive ecological impact. "From my experience, bowfishermen are very responsible and environmentally minded as they understand that these invasive fish species put a lot stress on our indigenous fish. Thinning out the 'rough' fish in the sport fishing lakes has a definite ecological advantage," he said.
Besides the conservation aspect of the event, Richards also added that the event is a win-win for him and his business. "It's very good for my business as it supplies a necessary food source for the turtles," said Richards. "Then I can supply turtles to various aquariums like the ones at Bass Pro Shops." He will have a booth set up at Long Creek Marina and will also have a 120-pound alligator snapping turtle on exhibit.
Sponsors of the 2013 U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship include Bass Pro Shops®, Tracker Boats®, Big Cedar Lodge, PSE Archery®, Muzzy Products ®, AMS Bowfishing, Missouri Department of Conservation, Under Armour®, Oakley®, Anheuser-Busch® and Monogram Foods®.