Fishing & Boating News

Swindle's Angel Anglers Visit Children In Russellville

(Apr. 29, 2004 - MONTGOMERY, AL.) A few years ago, CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle had an idea. Swindle was inspired by the youth programs that BASS is committed to, including CastingKids, the Bassmaster Family Fest and the Junior Bassmaster World Championship, but he thought there was more to do. "There are probably some kids out there that can't come to us," Swindle said "I got together with Marty Stone and said, 'Why not go to them?'" Just like that, Angel Anglers was created. The Angel Anglers are a group of BASS anglers who visit children's hospitals in the cities and towns where they compete during the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, part of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer. At the first Bassmaster Elite 50 series event, Swindle and fellow pros Skeet Reese, Peter Thliveros, Randy Howell, Kevin Wirth and Tim Horton went to the Arkansas Children's Hospital. "This is open to all the pros," Swindle said. "Any angler that wants to come, come on. We are only going to get better at this. This really came together so quickly, and I just called some of the guys, kind of last minute. What was really neat was they were all like, 'We'll be there man.' That was really cool. "We were all a little nervous at first," Swindle added. "The kids were kind of shy. At first they had to warm up to us but Skeet's wife, Kim, jumped in and the next thing you know, they're all smiling. One lady came over to her and said, 'My son hasn't smiled in a long time.' "At one point I (stood) up and looked around and there was Skeet, baking cookies with one little girl, and Kevin Wirth is sitting at a little table looking at pictures, then there's Peter T. talking to some parents, but when I started looking around the room, everyone was with someone. "I was telling Marty (Stone), not all of us have the money to make donations and that kind of thing, but what we can give is our time and our happiness." At the second Bassmaster Elite 50 event in Columbus, Miss., the Angel Anglers will be visiting the Baptist Memorial Hospital on May 15. BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.