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Entries in tournament fishing (10)

Wednesday
Feb122014

What to See and Do at Bassmaster Classic

B.A.S.S. photo of Classic in Tulsa, Okla.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — There are far more than 44 things to do and see at the Feb. 21-23 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

But, as a salute to this Classic being the 44th annual world championship of bass fishing, this list stops at No. 44. Fishing fans and their families will discover many more over the three days of the event.

Competition will take place on Lake Guntersville. All other activities will be in Birmingham at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. There’s no charge to attend any Bassmaster Classic event.

1. Cheer on your favorites at the morning takeoffs. Fifty-five of the world’s best anglers in 55 of the most colorful and best-equipped bass boats in the sport will line up and power out onto Lake Guntersville at 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-22, from City Harbor in Guntersville, Ala. On Sunday, Feb. 23, only the 25 finalists who made the Saturday cut will compete. Sunday takeoff is also at 7 a.m. Shuttles from parking areas will be provided.

2. Ride like the wind. What’s it feel like to ride in a state-of-the-art bass boat powered by an engine larger than yourself? Courtesy of Mercury, Nitro, Skeeter, Triton and Yamaha, free demo rides from the launch site will be offered Friday-Sunday. Ages 16 and up can sign up at the tents.

3. Do some star-gazing. The best bet for up-close views of the pros in action on the water is to stay glued to Bassmaster.com. Those lucky enough to live on Lake Guntersville (or who have good friends who live there) can watch from shore and have fun glassing the boats as they whiz by. For fans planning to take a boat out on the water, Bassmaster Classic officials request that all spectators keep their distance, and don’t try to talk to the anglers or fish their water after they leave (they’ll need the option to return to that spot).

4. Get into the drama of the daily weigh-ins. The doors at the BJCC Arena will open each day at 3 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Find a seat, then sit back, relax and enjoy the Evan Williams Bourbon Classic Warm-up, a slate of pre-weigh-in entertainment.

5. Score the best seat in the house. Text to win a seat on the Evan Williams Bourbon couch located at the front of the Livewell, the VIP seating in front of the stage. The daily texting contest, Evan Williams Seriously Good Seats Contest, will be announced in the arena at 3:30 p.m. each day, and fans 21 years and up will have 15 minutes to text “Evan Williams” to 271-26. The winner gets space on couch for themselves and up to three others.

6. Say, “How ’bout them dogs.” The canine athletes of the Super Retriever Series will show their stuff as part of the Warm-up show.

7. Make some noise. Mercury will distribute thundersticks to fans as they enter the arena. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Byron Velvick will canvas the crowd to select the “craziest” fan to receive a cool prize.

8. Drink the Dew. Diet Mountain Dew will distribute free cans of soft drinks for the first 10 minutes after the arena doors open.

9. Show off your catching skills. Mercury T-shirts will be shot into the stands. Be ready to catch them.

10. Win a GoPro camera. Watch the big screen in the arena for texting instructions for a chance to win a GoPro unit, the camera that can catch the action up close under extreme conditions.

11. Picture yourself as a Classic champ. As fans enter the BJCC Arena for the daily weigh-ins, they can have their photo taken with Skeet Reese’s 2009 Bassmaster Classic trophy, courtesy of Dick’s Sporting Goods.

12. Get ready for some football. As part of the Evan Williams Bourbon Classic Warm Up, a Triton 21 TrX boat will be towed into the arena by a Toyota. In the boat will be Triton pro staff anglers tossing toy footballs into the crowd.

13. Help families of warriors. At the arena, a bucket will be passed through the crowd to collect contributions to the Folds of Honor Foundation. Its mission is to provide educational scholarships to the dependents of soldiers killed or disabled while serving our country.

14. Experience the biggest tackle show in Birmingham. It’s called the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, and it’s open at the BJCC all three days, before the weigh-ins and even after the weigh-ins on Friday and Saturday. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Keep reading to learn about some of the activities, displays and merchandise available. Like all Classic activities, there’s no admission charge to the expo.

15. Acquire your heart’s desire. The Dick’s Sporting Goods booth at the Expo is one place you can purchase that got-to-have gear and tackle (including 2014 model lures you probably won’t see elsewhere).

16. Meet the GEICO gecko. At the GEICO booth, you can have your photo taken with the famous TV commercial star while entering to win a $500 gas card. Kids can play a GEICO game and win prizes.

17. See what swims with SpongeBob. At the Toyota booth, more than fish will be swimming in a new 800-gallon custom tank designed by Animal Planet’s “Tanked” co-stars Wayde King and Brett Raymer in partnership with Toyota and Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

18. Wonder at how good your kids are at casting. At the Toyota Casting Challenge, kids can test their skills at casting into targets.

19. Stuff it. In the Toyota Highlander Cargo Capacity Challenge, you can try to stuff as many fish into the Toyota Highlander as you can to win prizes.

20. Test your strength. In the Toyota Tundra Torque Pull, see if you have the strength to win prizes.

21. Collect free stuff at Dick’s, win prizes. Get a free Hook Me Up! commemorative lanyard and luggage tag at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Expo booth. There’s a different luggage tag each day, so collect all three. Wearing the “Hook Me Up” lanyard could earn a prize, including Dick’s Sporting Goods gift cards. A prize patrol will be on the lookout at the Expo and weigh-ins to tap lanyard-wearers and award prizes on the spot.

22. Win cool stuff at the Bass Pro Shops/Nitro expo booth. Giveaway items include autographed jerseys, fishing tackle and Bass Pro Shops gift cards.

23. Enter a raffle for a trip on the lake. Pick up a wrist band at the Bass Pro Shops/Nitro Expo exhibit and qualify for prizes and register for a raffle to ride in a Nitro Z-9 and follow your favorite pro on Lake Guntersville during a Classic competition day.

24. Start (or add to) an autograph collection. Famous bass pros will be on hand for autograph sessions, courtesy of many of the expo exhibitors. Check schedules at each booth.

25. Make it a banner day. Your entire family can get in on this: At the Mercury expo exhibit, create your own banner to cheer on your favorite Mercury pro staff member fishing in the Classic.

26. Power up with PowerBait. Samples of the newest and hottest PowerBait shapes will be given to the first 250 people at the Berkley booth each day.

27. Make music. Stop in at the Humminbird/Minn Kota Expo booth to register to win a Gibson guitar. The drawing will be Sunday in the booth.

28. See yourself on the cover of Bassmaster Magazine. Courtesy of Yamaha, take home a 5x7 photo of yourself on the cover of Bassmaster. While you’re at the Yamaha booth, have your photo taken with a Yamaha pro. Autographs also are available.

29. Line up your kids to play a new game. B.A.S.S. Conservation partner Recycled Fish will be at the Dick’s Sporting Goods booth with “Bass Labyrinth,” a new game that teaches kids how to release a bass. Families can get a Recycled Fish Stewardship Kit to help them be effective caretakers of their local waters.

30. Learn at seminars. Several expo exhibitors will offer seminars. Check at each booth for schedules. For example, hourly seminars will happen at the 40-foot, 4,000-gallon Dick’s Sporting Goods Bass Tank.

31. Try to win Duckett rods at Triton booth. Enter daily drawings for a chance to win a set of four Duckett Fishing Micro Magic Triton-branded rods. The winner will be notified via email.

32. Pocket up to $1,000 from Livingston. Besides great giveaways like signed apparel and Livingston lures, cash prizes will be awarded every day at the Livingston Expo exhibit. One of the prizes on one of the days will be $1,000. Learn details at the Livingston booth.

33. Enter to win a Toyota Tundra in the new Booyah sweepstakes. Also up for grabs is a trip to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic in Greenville, S.C. Booyah will launch the sweeps at the expo, giving Classic visitors the first chance to enter the season-long contest. At the final Bassmaster Elite Series event of 2014, 11 entries will be drawn. All 11 will be guests of Booyah at the 2015 Classic; each of those 11 will receive a key. The one who has the key that fits will win the Booyah-wrapped Toyota.

34. Spin to win. At the B.A.S.S. expo booth, visitors can win prizes by taking a turn at the Spin ‘N’ Win board.

35. Enter the Reelin’ & Racing Sweepstakes. Also at the B.A.S.S. booth, enter to win a fishing trip with Bassmaster Elite Series pro (and Classic competitor) Aaron Martens — and a VIP experience at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

36. Live, from Birmingham, it’s the Bassmaster Interview Stage. There’s a full slate of interviews, Classic competition analysis, fishing tips and much more on tap at the Bassmaster Interview Stage inside the expo. Hosts include the Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall and the senior editor Ken Duke.

37. Catch up with AutoZone Winning Ways. If you haven’t yet seen The Bassmasters TV program named AutoZone Winning Ways, here’s your chance. It will be shown at the Bassmaster Interview Stage.

38. Take home the T-shirt. Arguably, the official Bassmaster Classic T-shirt is the ultimate Classic souvenir. But there’s much more at the B.A.S.S. merchandise booth, from hats to shirts in all sizes and colors and for all ages.

39. Tweet Up. Want to meet other devoted Bassmaster Tweeters? Meet Saturday at noon in the B.A.S.S. Life Member Lounge at the expo. Anyone who follows B.A.S.S. on Twitter (@BASS_Nation) is invited.

40. Be social. Use the hashtag #bassmasterclassic on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest or Facebook. Submitted photos could be selected to go up on the big screen in the BJCC arena. Photos also will be displayed on a screen in the B.A.S.S. booth at the expo; photos with the hashtag on Instagram will appear on the B.A.S.S. Facebook page, https://apps.facebook.com/bconinstagram.

41. Follow the competition via Bassmaster.com. The Classic anglers are on the water; you’re inside at the expo, or eating lunch at a Birmingham restaurant. No problem. Go to Bassmaster.com on your cellphone or tablet and check the BASSTrakk weight reports, watch video fresh off the water, and read all about the competition. Live, streaming video of the weigh-ins also will be available.

42. See future pros. The Carhartt College Series gets in on the Classic action with a friendly competition among collegiate rivals in the annual Bassmaster Classic “Iron Bowl.” Defending 2013 champ Oklahoma University will be up against teams from several colleges, including Auburn and Alabama. The College Series weigh-in will be Sunday as part of the Evan Williams Bourbon Classic Warm-up activities.

43. Support the growing high school teams. During Warm-up on Saturday, 10 high school fishing teams from Alabama and other states will take the Classic stage to weigh their catches. Give them your best applause.

44. Revel in a confetti shower. Get ready for confetti as a new Classic champ is crowned Sunday. Lightweight, colorful (and free), a piece or two of saved confetti is a unique souvenir from a great three days at the 2014 Classic.

Saturday
Dec072013

The 'Big Picture' of Why We Fish

The following is my response to a recent Amazon review of my new book, Why We Fish.

Mr. Jakubowski doesn’t like competitive fishing and the fact that all --- instead of just most — of the essays aren’t about the idyllic aspects of fishing. I understand and respect that point of view.

But I would like to clarify a few points.

1. He says, “Too many essays extol the virtues of B.A.S.S. and the reputed contribution of competitive fishing to angling.” In fact, one essay is about B.A.S.S. and how we all have benefitted from its founding. Another is about that organization’s leadership in dealing with the largemouth bass virus more than a decade ago.

But if you don’t like competitive fishing, I guess that even two essays are two too many. As a matter of fact, though, I never have fished competitively and wouldn’t ever want too.  My appreciation for fishing probably is more in line with Mr. Jakubowski’s. But tournament anglers have just as much right to the water as the rest of us, and we owe much in the way of innovation and conservation to B.A.S.S.

2. Mr. Jakubowski seems critical of my mention of a report in an essay about the anti-fishing movement and he says that I have provided “no reference.” I’m not sure what he is talking about here.  I include the complete name of the report, which would enable a reader to further research it if he so desires.

3. Nor am I sure what this means: “Name calling and defining the opposition are not helpful when you need to have your ideas understood by the opposition.”  If he is suggesting that I might offend those who oppose fishing, instead of persuading them to come over to our side, then possibly he is correct. But my essays are not written for them. They are written for anglers.

It is quite possible, as Mr. Jakubowski suggests, that non-anglers and casual observers see bass boats and tow vehicles and think “This is what I need to fish?” But I did not write this book to correct this misconception.

I wrote this book to celebrate with my fellow anglers the joy of fishing and, on a much smaller scale, provide perspective on how we came to be where we are and what the future might hold for recreational fishing.

As Mr. Jakubowski points out, most books of fishing essays are written by devotees of fly fishing. I fly fish too, but I’m not a devotee, just as I am not a competitive fisherman. Thus, I did not write this book in the way that a fly fisherman would, focusing solely on the idyllic.

Rather, I am someone who loves fishing in all of its forms and has been fortunate enough to combine that passion with a small ability to write.  And during my years of writing about all aspects of fishing, I have learned to appreciate the “big picture” of why we fish. That is what I have tried to convey in this book.

 

Wednesday
Jan092013

A Lot Smells Fishy in This Blue Marlin Controversy

Even fishing is not immune from soap-opera drama, as evidenced by the disqualification of an 883-pound blue marlin that would have been worth $910,000 to its captors during the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament out of North Carolina in June of 2010.

The case is now being argued before the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday
Dec122012

Ethical Behavior Important on the Water

(Author's note: This article was written awhile back for young anglers. But the same advice also is applicable to adult fishermen.)

You and your partner are having little luck and time is running out in the bass tournament. But as you pass a point at the mouth of a cove, you notice anglers in another boat are catching fish.

There seems to be plenty of room, and they are fishing public water. You have as much right to be there as they do. Why not join them?

You know why. It wouldn’t be ethical.

“All of us who fish competitively have had experience with ethics on the water,” says a long-time bass pro from Arkansas. “And the first rule is the Golden Rule. You don’t move onto another person’s water.”

The second ethics rule among tournament anglers, she adds, is a variation of the first. “You don’t go to that spot the next day either, if the tournament is still going on. That is someone else’s water. Find your own fish.”

Sometimes you can do that, she continues, simply by noting what makes this honey hole special and then looking for similar places that are not occupied.

An angler who wants to claim a hole, meanwhile, should practice good angling etiquette. He can do that by moving back and forth to signal that this is his water. Otherwise, some might mistakenly believe that he is fishing down a bank, instead of working a specific area.

In general, angling etiquette is a code of courtesy that shows consideration for others and, in doing so, encourages ethical behavior. Angling etiquette is visible, such as yielding to the boat on the right or to a smaller, slower craft cutting across your bow.

But what, exactly, is ethical behavior, aside from not crowding into another’s fishing spot?

 “Your ethics are the rules or values you use to help choose behavior that is fair to others and to yourself,” says Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “We practice ethical behavior when we ‘do the right thing’ even when we think we won’t be caught or punished for our behavior.”

When trying to decide whether your behavior will be ethical, says TPWD, consider these questions: Is it legal? Would it be good if everybody did it? Would it make you proud?

Also, don’t allow someone’s questionable behavior to influence your judgment. In other words, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Sometimes, too, what you perceive as “wrong” isn’t seen that way by others.

“Especially in tournaments, we (bass anglers) are so intent, so focused,” says the pro. “Others, like water skiers and jet skiers, don’t understand that. And it’s not their mission to pay attention to things like the fact that they’re going between us and the shore. We have to understand that.

“And we shouldn’t get mad if we decide to fish a good spot where there’s going to be a lot of traffic. We have to accept the fact that people are going to go by.”

As a fisherman, however, you do know that motoring between an angler and a nearby shoreline is not good etiquette and possibly even unethical if it harms his fishing.

Here are some other actions that reflect good etiquette and ethical behavior by anglers: 

  • Honor another’s trust. If someone shares with you his “secret spot,” don’t tell anyone about it, no matter how tempted you may be.
  • Whether in a boat or on shore, don’t cast your line across another’s or into “his water.” Doing so not only is unethical but could result in a tangled mess that keeps both of you from fishing.
  • Understand and follow fishing and boating regulations. Obeying the law is not only ethical; it also keeps you from paying fines and possibly even going to jail and/or having your fishing privileges revoked.
  • Handle fish gently. Don’t suspend them out of the water with fishing line. Don’t touch the gills. After you net or lip them, don’t allow them to flop around on shore or in the bottom of the boat. If a fish “swallows” the hook, cut off the line at the eye and leave it in.
  • Never keep fish just to “show off.” You should be prepared to clean and eat any that you take home.
  • Have your boat ready to go before you back it down the ramp. When you take it out, move it quickly out of the way so that others can use the launch area.
  • Help with loading, unloading, and cleaning the boat.
  • Take live bait home with you or dispose of it well away from the water instead of dumping it into the lake. Be certain that your boat and trailer don’t carry any uninvited hitchhikers, such as nuisance plants or zebra mussels.
  • Don’t move fish of any kind from one water body to another. In addition to being unethical and illegal, it could do irreversible damage to a fishery that you were trying to improve.
  • Always ask permission before crossing private property or fishing a pond or stream on private property.
  • If you are wading, try to avoid trampling aquatic vegetation. Enter and leave the water at places where the banks are low or at gravel bars, so you will do less damage to the shorelines.
  • If you are fishing on private land and keeping fish, offer to share your catch with the landowner.
  • Leave an area just as clean as you found it. And especially never discard line or soft plastic baits. Even better, pick up the trash left behind by others. Littering, of course, is against the law. Picking it up shows respect for the resource.
  • Avoid spills and never dump pollutants, such as gas and oil, into the water.
  • Share your knowledge and enjoyment of the sport by taking others fishing.
  • Through your own behavior, promote angling ethics and etiquette.

 Sometimes when you are on the water, you will run into situations that do not fit into any of the above and you will be forced to make decisions with little time to think. In such cases, listen to your conscience, make the ethical choice, and you never will go wrong.

Friday
Sep142012

B.A.S.S. Marshal Program Is Way to Meet the Pros

Gerald Swindle’s marshal tips his hat to crowd as they launch at Elite Series tournament on the St. Johns River in Florida. B.A.S.S. photo.

How would you like to spend a day on the water with one of the big names in bass fishing?  If you are a B.A.S.S. member, you can do that through the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Marshal Program.

“The Bassmaster marshal program’s popularity has grown immensely since its inception,” said Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. tournament director.

 “Imagine getting eight hours of one-on-one, on-the-water classroom instruction from the best bass anglers in the world. Bassmaster Elite Series pros have embraced the program, and they are willing to share a wealth of information that is sure to help their marshals become better anglers once they return home.”

Marshal registration for B.A.S.S Federation Nation and Life members opens Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. CST for online applications and Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. CST for phone applications. All B.A.S.S. members can register online Oct. 2 beginning at 9 a.m. CST and by phone Oct. 4 at 9 a.m. CST.

According to Weldon, scoring a marshal slot can be a challenge as B.A.S.S. members play a beat-the-clock game to submit their entries to serve as marshals for their favorite tournament locations.

“We have many serious and dedicated fans, and some tournaments have all marshal spots filled within 15 minutes of registration opening,” Weldon said.

You can register online here or by calling 877-BASSUSA. Enrollment fee is $125, which includes an exclusive Bassmaster marshal shirt and hat. 

Date

Event Name

Destination

 

March 14-17

Sabine River Challenge

Orange, Texas

 

March 21-24

Falcon Slam

Zapata, Texas

 

April 18-21

Bulls Shoals Quest

Bull Shoals, Ark.

 

May 2-5

West Point Battle

LaGrange, Ga.

 

May 9-12

Alabama River Charge

Montgomery, Ala.

 

June 20-23

Mississippi River Rumble

La Crosse, Wis.

 

Aug. 8-11

St. Lawrence River Showdown

Waddington, N.Y.

 

Aug. 22-25

Lake St. Clair Championship

Detroit, Mich.