Bass Tournament Brings Thousands To East Texas - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/15/2007-Wood County

Bass Tournament Brings Thousands To East Texas

It was one of the largest fishing tournaments and East Texas was proud to call it home.  The Toyota Texas Bass Classic tournament ended Sunday out at Lake Fork in Wood County.

The amount of people that came to East Texas has not been totaled.  But even for Friday and Saturday when the weather didn't cooperate there were almost 12,000 people, and Sunday, the numbers aren't in but the estimates were more than 20,000 for that day alone.

The event was much more than the fishing.  More than the water, and the fishing, this tournament was about the people. The people that flooded Lake Fork for the first nationally televised bass tournament.

"We heard it on the radio and I thought it would be a good thing for the kids to do. We follow the bass tournaments on TV all the time on ESPN," said Keith Smith.

He brought along the whole family.  "My brother, his wife their two kids and my two daughters," said Smith.  "We came here to fish and have a good time," said daughter Breanna Smith, age 11.  "Fishing in general. Everybody loves it. I mean I can go and if there is no fish biting ya I have a good time. Everybody really loves it. This crowd shows it," said Smith.

And lots of people means lots of dollars.  "We filled up their hotels, restaurants, and we filled up the hotels and restaurants for this whole area for the week," said J.D. Fassino, Senior Vice President Marketing for Toyota.

"As more people learn about this lake and the area we think it will have a big impact a long term effect for East Texas.  For the Smiths and the thousands others, this bass tournament was quite a catch.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.

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