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Fishing tournament series begins Sunday

By Staff
First of 12 contests on 2008 fishing trail
By DAN PARSONS
Staff Writer
The first in a series of 12 freshwater fishing tournaments is set to kick off Sunday from the boat ramp in Plymouth.
This year is the second year FishIBX.com has hosted the tournament trail on the Roanoke River, but it’s the first year the event has been based in Plymouth, according to event organizer Mitchell Blake. Sunday’s tournament, which begins at 8 a.m. at the Plymouth waterfront, will have anglers going for largemouth bass. Two other tournaments, scheduled for March 22 and April 12, will be for striped bass.
Last year’s tournament trail was based in Jamesville, upriver from Plymouth. Because of low water levels, the boat ramp there is closed. Regardless, Blake, a Jamesville native, said Plymouth presented an ideal place for launching boats for the competitions because of its more central location along the river.
From 15 to 18 boats are expected to participate in Sunday’s tournament, usually with two fishermen per boat, according to Blake. Entry in the tournament costs $50 at the ramp. There are no ramp fees. There will be a five-fish limit, with the weigh-in at 3 p.m.
Plymouth Mayor Brian Roth said the Roanoke River is often referred to as the “crown jewel” of eastern North Carolina rivers when it comes to bass fishing. Hurricane Isabel caused a massive fish kill in the river in September 2003, but thanks to a restocking initiative by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the river’s bass population has rebounded, according to Blake and Roth.
The restocking efforts are beginning to bear fruit, according to Roth, who said fishermen are beginning to once again make Plymouth and the river a destination for excursions.
Plymouth provides a convenient launching point for fishermen to ply the Roanoke, according to Roth. Boats may be launched there and may easily reach upstream to where the Roanoke joins the Cashie River and downstream to the Albemarle Sound, he said.
The town benefits from the tournament in other ways as fishermen and families patronize local hotels and restaurants, Roth said. Opposite the town’s waterfront is a swath of natural woodland edging the river. That area is protected as a national wildlife refuge, providing habitat not only for fish but for other species of wildlife. The town has aggressively marketed its natural resources to draw tourists as it has done with its Civil War history, the mayor said.
For more information or to sign up to participate in the tournament, contact Blake at (252) 945-2840 or visit www.fishibx.com.