Looking Forward to Winter Blues on Wheeler
by Ron Presley
Bigger than ever.
Now in its fifth year, Winter Blues on Wheeler (WBW) will grace the ramps at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, AL with some of the best catfish anglers in the country. Big fish, cold, nasty weather, good friends and friendly competition has always characterized the popular event and this year will likely be no different. Except, it will be bigger than ever.
The Fifth Annual Winter Blues on Wheeler is presented by SeaArk Boats and hosted by Decatur Morgan County Tourism. Jody and Kristy Harrison and Daniel Parsons have been working hard to line up new and exciting things for the January 5, 2019 tournament and it starts with its new location.
“Winter Blues on Wheeler 2019 will launch out of Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, AL,” said Harrison. “Ingalls Harbor is second to none. The Capt. meeting will be at the Ingalls Harbor Pavilion, courtesy of Decatur Morgan County Tourism. Plan on puttin’ on the feedbag, because they will be dishing out some great food.”
The guaranteed first place prize is $10,000 and the much talked about and popular State Record Bounty has increased. If a WBW registered angler catches an Alabama state record blue catfish during the tournament the angler will win $60,000.
Participants may just get tired of winning because this year’s event will also present some lucky angler a brand new RiverCat 200 boat, motor, and trailer package from SeaArk Boats, the title sponsor. Each registered angler will receive an entry into a raffle that will determine the winner.
For registered military veterans, Leslie VanDerau, Founder and President of Heroes Outdoor Therapy (HOT) is presenting a special prize. Some lucky veteran angler will win $500 if he/she lands the biggest fish on tournament day.
In an effort to encourage youth participation, CatfishNow Digital Magazine is providing a championship belt for the highest finishing youth in the competition. The belt is inscribed with the logos of WBW and CatfishNow, and the words Decatur, AL 2019 Youth Champion.
To keep things fun and social, WBW has arranged a Thursday night get-together at Cross-Eyed Owl Brewing Co. Kristy Harrison assures us that it is going to be a blast. Food trucks will also be available so everyone can eat, drink, and be merry. For those who enjoy adult beverages Jody recommends that you download the Uber app, saying, “We don’t need any DUI’s here.”
Tournament morning will have a food truck at the ramp serving breakfast for those that need it. Saturday afternoon will have four food trucks at the weigh-in for hungry anglers and the Red Diamond Coffee & Tea Refreshment Vehicle will be on site to take care of thirsty folks.
At this writing, there are more than two months to go before the tournament. It is very likely that there will be even more surprises in store for anglers because Jody Harrison understands that it is the anglers that make tournaments work and he believes in rewarding them. He and his staff have been working tirelessly since last year’s WBW ended with a goal to make the 2019 gathering better than ever.
“I especially want to thank the anglers that came,” said Harrison at the end of the 2018 tournament. “None of this is anything without the anglers. See ya’ next year.”
Well, next year is here. Make your plans and sign up now at https://www.fishlife.net/winter-blue-registration.html.
Follow the tournament and keep up with new announcements by following along on the Winter Blues on Wheeler Facebook page.