“We hold our tournaments on weekends when most folks are off from work,” says club director Adam Sharp.
“We originally didn’t allow any pre-fishing because that would give an advantage to people who can afford to take off from work, but we relented and now allow one day of practice if someone wants to do it.”
All of the club’s six tournaments are held on area lakes -- Old Hickory, Percy Priest, Center Hill and Kentucky Lake – to reduce travel demands and expenses.
The tournaments are restricted to members, of which there are currently 44, all from the Lebanon area. All the members are men, but Sharp says women anglers are welcome.
There is no minimum age, the only requirement being that the angler be old enough to legally drive and operate a boat.
There is a $60 annual membership fee and a $60 entry fee per tournament. The money is dispersed on a graduated scale among the top-five finishers of each tournament. Several local businesses provide sponsorships to help allay costs.
Points are awarded in each tournament toward an Angler of the Year award at the end of the season. Lebanon’s Daniel Johnson is defending champion.
One interesting aspect of the association is that competitors fish alone, one angler per boat. Most tournaments pair two anglers together, one purpose being to self-police against funding – like perhaps picking up a caged fish that had been caught and staked out prior to the tournament.
Sharp says there has never been an incident of fudging detected in any Cedar City tournament.
“We’re a close-knit group,” he says. “All the members know each other and the competition is keen but friendly. Nobody would ever cheat on a friend.”
In addition to overseeing the Cedar City Bass Anglers, Sharp for eight years has also run a Tuesday tournament out of Davis Corner on Old Hickory Lake. It is open to all comers, has a $20 entry fee, and has a more standard two-man per boat format. He also hosts August night tournaments on Priest and Old Hickory. For information about the tournaments or Cedar City Bass Anglers, visit the club’s website or call Sharp at 615-418-2822.
The Cedar City Bass Anglers Association evolved from an earlier Lebanon fishing club, the Cedar City Bass Masters. That club, founded in the early 1970’s, was discontinued and in 2003 Sharp formed the current version.
“My dad used to fish the old Cedar City Bass Masters tournaments and I would sometimes go with him,” Sharp says. “That’s how I became interested in fishing in general and in tournament fishing in particular.
“I remember how much my dad and the other members enjoyed it, and that’s why I decided to start up this new association.”
It’s a second-generation fishing club for second-generation fishermen, but with a generation-spanning objective: to keep tournament fishing affordable and accessible for anglers from all walks of life.