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Stu Tinney to speak at Smith Mountain Striper Club

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By Tom Wilmoth

One of the 100 Living Legends of American Sport Fishing is coming to the area for a visit.

Stu Tinney, regarded as the nation?s top authority on fresh water striped bass, will speak at the Smith Mountain Striper Club at 7 p.m. at the Moneta Community Center on Feb. 1. A professional fishing guide, tackle designer, and lecturer, Tinney has been featured in national outdoor magazines such as Field and Stream and Outdoor Life, as well as in newspapers coast-to-coast, television and radio shows and numerous outdoor films. Tinney also is a regular guest speaker for Cabela's and hosts the "Stu Tinney Fishing Tournament," that raises about $25,000 for local fisheries.

For Angie Behan, president, of the SMSC, his appearance is a big catch for the club.

"I'm just beside myself," she said of his upcoming visit.

Tinney, according to Behan, organized the first striper tournament at Smith Mountain Lake back in the early 1980s. That tournament created a bit of a controversy at the time, she said, but now the local striper club is in its 21st year ? and thriving, boasting membership in excess of 600, including Tinney.

She said the club is involved in conservation, preservation and education and club members also attend various events to help teach children how to fish. She said the club works closely with state agencies, conducting field studies and sampling and working with a tagging program. Club members also worked to help stock the 436,000 fingerlings this past summer at 16 different locations around the lake, helping to grow the lake "back into a trophy fishery."

The club has various events throughout the year as well as four tournaments.

"We're going to really get a lot of good information from (Tinney's visit)," Behan said. "There is no other person as knowledgeable on striped bass as Stu Tinney. ...He is the outdoorsman personified."

Tinney is the founder and publisher of "Striper Magazine" and has been featured on radio, television and films, including with Bill Dance. He will be presenting "The Art of the Jig" and talking about his book,"Life's No Fun Until You Get Your Feet Wet." Today he lives with his wife, Lindsay, in Columbia, Tenn.

Behan expects some of the "old-timers" from back in the 1980s might have an interest in Tinney's appearance. "I'm hoping it will bring them back out," she said. "Everybody can just have a good time. He's quite entertaining."

Membership into the Smith Mountain Striper Club is $30 a year for families. Non-club members are invited to attend the event with Tinney, but there is limited seating. For those who would like to attend, contact Behan at 540-793-2420 or by email at acbehan3528@aol.com