The greatest bass tournament ever!

Over my many years of tournament bass fishing, there have been some really great events. Some of the best tournaments today are benefit events where the proceeds go to a particular person or group with special needs. These types of tournaments are usually team events with entry fees ranging from $200 to $400. A lot of the time anglers who win will donate their winnings back to the event depending on the cause.

But once upon a time, there was a bass tournament like no other. It was a tournament that was held with high regard in North Louisiana, one where anglers would literally sleep on the sidewalk outside Reeves Marine in Shreveport the night before registration just to make sure they got in since there was a limit of 100 boats. It was the Reeves Marine All-City Championship!

What an event it was, as anglers were treated like royalty. It truly became a prestigious event and was such an honor to win. It was the best of the best in the Shreveport/Bossier area including top anglers who could compete with just about anyone across the country. One thing I figured out in the early to mid 1990’s was that the Shreveport/ Northwest Louisiana area produced some great anglers who not only had success locally, but on a regional stage as well.

The Reeves Marine All-City Championship was a team event and started out on the shores of Cross Lake. Over time it moved to the Red River for a brief period before it finally came to an end in the early 2000’s. Why was this tournament so special? Well for starters, there was a team/rules meeting the night before the event where anglers were fed a great catfish dinner with all the fixings. There were some really good door prizes given away like rods, reels, tackle boxes, and some of the latest and hottest baits on the market. Skeeter Boats was a major sponsor of this event as well and gave away a lot of products from rain gear to lifejackets.

But this tournament was very different in the fact that it was a two-day back-to-back weekend event. All 100 teams fished the first day with only the top 20 returning the next weekend to decide the winner. Just to make the Top 20 was quite an accomplishment! These teams received some nice embroidered All-City Championship jackets and tote bags. Everyone who made the final-day Championship got a check.

Winning this event put you and your partner in select company and more importantly, you had bragging rights for a whole year. There was a huge four-to-five-foot trophy that stayed on display at Reeves Marine where the individual names of the winning team were engraved and placed on the trophy forever. There were TV and newspaper interviews and a wealth of exposure. There really has been no other tournament since then that has had the prestige of the Reeves Marine All-City Championship.

Today, many anglers would love to see this event return to its former glory days, but alas, it’s now a different time and a different era. Back during the 1990’s and early 2000’s there were only a handful of tournaments all year long, so it made the All-City Championship a little extra special.  Today, you can fish a tournament every single weekend from January through September. Therefore, it probably would not have the luster it had in the beginning where guys slept on the steps of Reeves Marine just to secure a spot in the event.

Maybe one day, someone will be able to bring an event of this caliber back to Northwest Louisiana and give recognition to some of the best bass fishermen in the country. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen as Melanoma does not discriminate.

Steve Graf                                                                                                                                                                                 Angler’s Perspective