News 12 at 6 o'clock, September 17, 2008
CLARKS HILL, Ga.---More than 70 women will compete in the final leg of the tour this weekend. The women are hoping to catch some big fish and the local businesses are hoping to cash in big.
Paula Alexander is packing up and getting her boat ready for Thursday's 5 AM start. "I grabbed my hoodie this morning, I was like "Man, old friend, let's go. It's time to go to work," says Paula.
Paula lives in Lincolnton. She spends a lot of her time traveling the country with the Women's Bassmaster Tour, but home is where her heart is. "To be home, this is great. I can't imagine anything better," says Paula.
The tournament is set for Thursday through Saturday at Wildwood Park. The water is low, but everyone is still hopeful. "I really wish we had a lot more water than we had but we can't do anything about mother nature," says Paula.
Because of the low lake levels, several of the ramps have been closed. There is only one open at the park.
"The lake is down but you can still get in the water here but you just have to be very careful," says Wildwood Park Coordinator, Jeb Bell.
The park is already benefiting from the tournament. "We have somewhere between 25-30 of the women anglers staying here at the park," says Bell.
The local economy around the lake expects to see a boost in business, even, if they are out of gas. "You've got people staying here in the hotels and the restaurants and going to our stores and businesses. So it will have a very good impact on the county," says Bell.
Temperatures have dropped, but Paula thinks that will help. "With this cool weather coming in, I think it's going to turn the fish on and I think Clarks Hill is gonna shine," says Paula.
After traveling, Paula is just excited to sleep in her own bed. "Oh yes!!" She exclaims.
That's also a reaction Paula is hoping to have when she weighs in on Saturday.
The tournament kicks off tomorrow. The top 20 point leaders after this weekend will go on to the Championship next month. That winner will qualify to face the men in the 2009 Bassmaster Classic.
Paula is thankful her son Bradley will be able to make it out to the tournament to cheer her on. He just recently returned from a tour in Iraq about ten days ago.