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Bassmaster Elite Series Reeling In Cash For Local Economy

106 Anglers compete in a major tournament in Russellville
RUSSELLVILLE, AR- The country's best anglers are descending upon Lake Dardanelle, hoping to reel in a $100,000 dollars. It's quite a catch for Russellville this year, as it hosts one of the major tournaments in the series, and that's good news for hotels, restaurants and other businesses that are sinking extra cash into the local economy.

Friday, we caught anglers returning from a long day on Lake Dardanelle, hooking five of their best catch of the day.

"It started real quick this morning. Started catching some fish right off the bat," says Ott Defoe, Angler. "The fishing here is really good right now. I've fished here before when it wasn't quite productive as it is now."

It's why the 2014 Bass Master Elite Series brought its 5th tournament to Russellville for the 2nd time.

"Lake Dardaelle is a beautiful lake. It's one of the top performing lakes that's out there," Eric Lopez, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) Spokesman.

They're going where the fans are.

"Down the streets you see all kinds of signs, welcome fisherman, welcome bass masters. It's really nice to go to a town that embraces it as much as Russellville does," says Defore.

"We have a lot of great support from the people here in Arkansas. We are a membership organization as well, we have a magazine so a lot of our members are based here," says Lopez.

Laura Sawyer is one of them. She was out on the lake with her subscriptions in hand, waiting to get autographs from her favorite anglers.

"I think it's pretty neat. The fact that I like to go fishing too with my dad," says Laura sawyer, spectator.

Event sponsors are also seen lined around the lake, attracting even the non-fishing folk, with their town kind of bait: giveaways, contests and demos.

"People are always extremely nice and it's just a big deal, it's a big deal for the state," says Retha Sawyer, spectator.

The competition will continue through Sunday. Organizers are expecting several thousand people to attend.

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