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Fishing fans flock to Lake Lanier event
Forrest Wood Cup draws big crowds of anglers out to watch the pros
Shane Edgar, 12, of Phoenix, Ariz., looks at his catch Friday before weighing-in during the National Guard World Junior Championship at Laurel Park. Edgar has fished in competitions for three years. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Forrest Wood Cup

Today-Sunday: 6:30 a.m. takeoff at Laurel Park, 3100 Old Cleveland Highway; 5 p.m. weigh-in at Gwinnett Arena, 6400Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth

Admission: Free

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While most think of fishing as a leisurely weekend activity, for some it is an exciting competitive sport.

At this weekend's FLW Outdoors' Forrest Wood Cup, fans from all over came out to see their favorite pros.
So what is it that draws the crowds?

"It's not like going out with a pack of worms," said Larry Lewis, president of Georgia Bass Federation. "You're looking at money, you're looking at prestige - it's about being a pro angler."

Lewis said many of the fans are anglers themselves.

"They just want to see what (the anglers) can catch," Lewis said. "Its, 'I want be like that.' They get to see what they weigh in."

And the stakes are high. Pros are competing for the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion, the most prestigious award in professional bass fishing and a top prize of $500,000.

Lewis said the sport has quite a following from TV viewers.

"They've got fishing shows all day long," Lewis said. "Everybody sees it on TV."

Gainesville residents Shane Keanum and Andrew Freeman said they follow fishing on television. The tournament was an opportunity for them to see the sport in person.

"This is about as close as we can come to it," Freeman said. "It's a chance to see it here locally."

Leah Little of Lexington, Ky., watched the weigh-in ceremony Friday for the National Guard World Junior Championship at Laurel Park.

She said she was there for business but wanted to see what the tournaments were all about. She had never watched professional fishing despite being an avid fisher herself.

"I've been fishing since I was 3 years old," Little said. "It's neat to see the female pros. I'd like to see more women participate."

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