DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

HARTWELL TO HARTWELL (PART 2)

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 11/14/2014

Note: This is Part Two of a feature on Bassmaster Elite Series and Major League Fishing Pro, Alton Jones.  In Part One, which ran on Wednesday, Jones talked missing the upcoming 2015 Bassmaster Classic which will be held on Lake Hartwell, the same fishery where he won the Classic in 2008 (CLICK HERE to read Part One). In today’s feature, Jones talks about some of his recent work with benefit tournaments in the Texas area, and he also talks about his son, Alton Jr., and his quest to join his father on the Elite Series in 2016.  

Story by Matt Pangrac – Photos by Dave Rush

Moore, OK - Even though Texas pro Alton Jones, by his own admission, struggled during the second half of the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, he hasn’t let it dampen the enthusiasm with which he has tackled the fall and early winter.  

This past weekend, Jones lent his name and likeness to Legacy Outfitters, a nationwide men’s ministry group that is based near Jones’ home in Waco, Texas.  On November 8th, Legacy Outfitters (www.legacyoutfitters.org) put on the first annual Alton Jones Classic, which was an open bass tournament held on Lake Waco.  The fundraising tournament, which guaranteed a 1st Place prize of $3,500 and featured Farmer’s Insurance as the presenting sponsor, was an event That Jones was honored to be a part of.  

“I’ve been involved with Legacy Outfitters for quite a few years now, and they approached me wanting to hold a bass tournament to thank me for my involvement with them,” Jones explained. “The first thing that I told them was that I’d be honored to be a part of the tournament, but I wanted to make sure that it was all about Legacy Outfitters and the fishing community here in Central Texas.”

Jones served as the tournament weigh-in emcee, which afforded him the opportunity to catch up with some friends from the past.  “It was a lot of fun for me and I got to see a lot of guys that I used to fish against on the local level but don’t get to see very often these days,” he explained. “We were able to raise some really good money for Legacy Outfitters while at the same time providing a fun event for a lot of anglers here in Texas.”

He is currently on his way down to South Texas for another fundraising event this weekend (November 15th and 16th) which will take place on Falcon Lake.  “I like to do a lot of charity events during the off season, and I always look forward to Fish with the Pro’s weekend, which is an event that I’ve hosted for a number of years to benefit Lifeline Youth and Family Services,” said Jones (www.fishwiththepros.com).  

Jones is one of a number of Elite Series and FLW Tour pros who have been involved in the event over the years.  This year, fellow Elite Series angler Matt Reed and three state level anglers from Texas will take 10 paying guests fishing on Falcon.  

“Even though we are fishing on Falcon, we will all be staying at La Perla Ranch, which is a fabulous place for fishing and hunting,” explained Jones.  “All of the funds that are raised go to Lifeline, so it’s a really cool event that I have enjoyed being a part of over the years.”  

Something else that Jones has enjoyed over the recent years is watching the angling maturation of his son, Alton Jr., who graduated from Baylor University this past May with a degree in Marketing.  “He wants to be a professional fisherman, and he has entered all three Bassmaster Open divisions for 2015,” divulged Jones.  “He’s going to be a busy young man as he works towards his pro career and attempts to qualify for the Bassmaster Elites.”  

For Jones, watching his son take steps towards joining him on the Elite Series is a fulfilling experience.  “We homeschooled our kids early on and they traveled with me on the road all the way through his high school tenure,” explained Jones. “He knows what it means to live on the road and what it means to prepare for a tournament.  He has gained experience living the life of a tournament angler that other people have to adjust to once they get there.  The logistics are something that will be a piece of cake for him.  

“I’m really looking forward to the day when he and I are both qualified for the Elites and we can run together and room together if the Lord is willing and he qualifies sometime soon,” continued Jones.  “That would be such a blessing to spend that time with him in a different phase of life.”  

Aside from having a much smaller learning curve when it comes to life on the road, Jones pointed out that Alton Jr. grew up spending countless hours watching him work through the tedious process of dissecting new fisheries and locating bass for upcoming tournaments – a critical part of success that is often overlooked by anglers attempting to break into the top ranks of tournament fishing.

“Bassmaster used to let kids practice with us leading up to an event, so he literally practiced with me for nine straight years for every single Bassmaster and FLW tournament. That makes for a lot of days on the water going through fish finding exercises.   Granted, he was little then, but I think that it will be an advantage for him as a youngster starting out," concluded Jones.