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Chandler makes waves in fishing

By submitted, 01/31/17 9:19 AM

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SPRING HILL – Griffin Chandler, 11, of Texarkana and a fifth-grader at Spring Hill Elementary in Hope has the caught the attention of Futrell Marine.

Established in 1948 by the late Dan Futrell, Futrell Marine is not only widely known in Arkansas and surrounding states, but recognized nationally by industry leaders. During the recent Arkansas Marine Expo at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Chandler was invited by Futrell Marine to work with his grandfather and professional fisherman, Charlie Howell, of Searcy to connect with the youth attending the boat show.

Chandler started fishing with his grandfather last fall in the Louisiana Saltwater Series (LASS). In June, Chandler fished in his first tournament with his grandfather and great-uncle Hunter Howell of Woodville, Miss., in Concodrie, La. Chandler, who has fished for bream, bass and crappie in Arkansas, described catching his first redfish, “Redfish pull like a bulldozer. They were so big that I almost was pulled into the water!  Not only do you have to land the redfish, keep it alive, but it has to measure exactly on slot between 16 and 27 inches and not an eyelash longer. The best fish are the short and fat ones.” Tournament rules allow for two fish for the adults and one fish for the youth to be weighed. Fishermen also participate in tag and release and may have four or five fish for research purposes.

Charlie Howell said Chandler learned about patience after spending eight hours in the boat, watching and making sure the fish are still alive and racing back to check-in on time. “Griffin loved every moment and never complained about the weather or the length of the boat ride. We rode 72 miles one-way for this tournament. The excitement of the weigh-in was just like watching the fishing show on television.” On June 11, Chandler won the youth division representing ages 16 and younger in the LASS at Concodrie by a couple of ounces. Chandler said, “Getting to fish with my Papaw and my Uncle Hunter was great. Winning was the icing on the cake.” Charlie and Hunter Howell finished third in the tournament. Chandler is the fourth generation to fish for redfish in the Howell family.

Chandler qualified to fish in the LASS Championship Tournament in Venice, La. On October 15, he won the youth division. As a Louisiana state champion, Chandler is often asked many questions about the kind of lures he uses and his recommendations. “His knowledge and enthusiasm were contagious at the boat show. He learned about the boats and actually was involved in the sales process while connecting with the youth as well as the adults,” said Tony Hodge, sales manager of Futrell Marine in Nashville. “We feel very strongly about our youth fishing program. As with any sport, the youth are our future. Fishing and outdoor activities are ways for strong relationships to be formed among grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren. These outings form lasting memories and create legacies for future generations.

The Ark-La-Tex Outdoor Expo is Feb. 3 – 4 at University of Arkansas Hope Campus: Hempstead Hall in Hope. Hours are Friday, 12-8 p.m., and on Saturday, 10 A.M. – 8 p.m. Chandler will be there on Friday afternoon, and Howell will be there both days representing Futrell Marine.

Chandler is the son of Drew and Audrey Chandler of Texarkana and formerly of Searcy.

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