TBF national championship underway on Lake Nickajack - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TBF national championship underway on Lake Nickajack

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KIMBALL, Tenn. (TBF Federation) - The bite is on and the anglers are hungry fighting for a dream they can almost taste - the 2011 TBF National Champion title and all the glory will be decided this week on Lake Nickajack.

On top of the leaderboard is Kenny Beale Jr. from Danville, Va., with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces. Beale honored the family tradition of successful federation anglers by making quite a statement today at his first national contest.

"Fishing comes natural to me, so I felt pretty good. I wasn't really nervous until I got to the weigh-in," Beale said.

Thursday was only Beale's second day to fish Lake Nickajack and it appears he's found his knack.

"I shook a lot of fish off and I'm glad I did. I had a limit by about a quarter after eight. We probably caught about 20 keepers," Beale said. "I just got lucky, got some nice ones and I hope for the same tomorrow. I have probably two to four spots with lots of fish coming to them, so I'll definitely stick with my plan."

Tomorrow's weigh-in will decide if he can make the final round to fish for the title, as only the top 14 advance to the weekend.

Holding down the top spot on the non-boater side is Dennis Hastings from Flower Mound, Texas, with a limit of bass weighing 15 pounds, 4 ounces. The top seven non-boaters from each division will also advance after tomorrow's weigh-in to fight for the national title and all that comes with it.

The TBF national champion boater will earn the esteemed $100,000 "Living the Dream" prize package including cash and prizes, fully paid entry fees into the Walmart FLW Tour, travel funds and use of a wrapped Ranger Boat and Chevrolet truck for the year. The national champion boater and non-boater will also receive berths in the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy.

The tournament field consists of the top two anglers from 45 states, the top two anglers representing the Canadian Bass Anglers Federation and the two BoatUS Collegiate National Champions, all of whom competed at local, state and regional qualifiers to advance to the national contest.

Take-off is at 6 a.m. CT at Shellmound with the weigh-in beginning at 3 p.m. CT. Take-offs and weigh-ins are open to the public.

Information provided by TBF Federation Media Relations.

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