Local 17-year-old fisher Gibson to compete in national tournament, raise money for ALS

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 10/2/20

Jason Gibson, a 17-year-old fisherman from Chatham County, will compete in the tournament of his life Saturday — and raise money for an important cause while he’s at it.

Gibson, who …

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Local 17-year-old fisher Gibson to compete in national tournament, raise money for ALS

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Posted

Jason Gibson, a 17-year-old fisherman from Chatham County, will compete in the tournament of his life Saturday — and raise money for an important cause while he’s at it.

Gibson, who lives in Governors Club and attends boarding school in Washington, D.C., will represent North Carolina in Bill Siemantel’s 2020 Big Bass Zone Junior Championship. On Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., he’ll be on the water at Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille along with 51 other fishers.

Over that timeframe, every state champion fisher has the same goal: catch the biggest largemouth bass.

The winner will take home around $350,000 in prize money, among other gifts. Regardless of result, though, Gibson is also using the platform to raise awareness for something else: ALS.

In honor of Chris Smith, his lifelong friend Blake’s father who was diagnosed with the disease in July 2019, Gibson has set up a tournament fundraiser: a dollar-per-pound pledge for the largest bass he catches Saturday. If you pledge $100 per pound and Gibson catches a two-pounder, for example, your final donation will be $300. (For reference, last year’s tournament winner caught a three-pounder.)

Donations are tax-deductible and go to the Healey Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital, where Chris has received treatment. Gibson’s final results will be finalized Saturday at 6 p.m., when each fisher’s heaviest catch is officially weighed. (You can watch it live on the Bassmaster Facebook page.)

Gibson, who traveled to Idaho for the event on Friday, told the News + Record on Thursday that Smith has been “like a second dad to him” growing up in Chapel Hill. So far, the fundraiser has worked up $4,630 per pound.

“Given all the stuff Chris has done for me, it was the least I could do,” Gibson said.

To make a pledge, follow this link.

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

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