World's Top B.A.S.S. Fishing Amateurs Competing on Alabama Delta
Mobile, Ala.-April 16, 2001-Anglers from Europe, Africa, and Japan will join
their North American rivals to compete in the sport╣s premier amateur
championship next week at the BC' Powder/B.A.S.S.' Federation Championship"
set for the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.
The competition is April 26-28 with 51 anglers competing for a $50,000 prize
purse and the right to advance to bass fishing╣s world championship--the
BASS Masters Classic--to be held this summer in New Orleans.
"We have some 50,000 members in the federation and most of them compete in
their bass club tournaments, making these 51 qualifiers elite in terms of
their level of skill," noted Al Smith, director of the B.A.S.S. Federation.
"This tournament will showcase their talent and send the best five anglers
on to compete with the pros for a shot at the world championship title."
The competition features anglers from 46 states and around the world.
International representatives include Justy Varkevisser of South Africa,
Biff Humphreys from neighboring Zimbabwe, and Italy╣s Marco Cambi. Takanori
Ogawa will represent Japan and Garrett Green will compete for Canada. All of
the anglers represent a network of bass clubs affiliated with the Bass
Anglers Sportsman Society╣s grass-roots arm, the B.A.S.S. Federation. Of the
51 anglers, five will advance to the Classic to represent their geographical
divisions (Southern, Eastern, Northern, Western,Central).
Daily weigh-ins will be held inside the Mobile Convention Center beginning
at 2:30 p.m. The event also includes the Expo 2001 Outdoor Show and a
BASSMASTER University mini clinic on Saturday featuring pros Randy Howell,
Shaw Grigsby, and reigning world champion Woo Daves. Admission to all events
This competition will be held on a tidal bass fishery for the first time.
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta covers 400 square miles of dense swamps, expansive
marshes, flooded forests and thick grassbeds. The common denominator to
solving this challenging bass fishing equation revolves around the daily
tidal flows. Miscalculating the tide means more than being stranded in the
middle of nowhere. It could likely decide which of the 51anglers becomes one
of the five Classic finalists.
The delta has been off-limits to the contestants since the tournament was
announced, with the exception of a March 24-April 1 scouting period. Anglers
who took advantage of the opportunity to explore were plagued by high, muddy
water. "It was tough because of the extremely high water," added
Mississippi state champion Pete Ponds agrees. "I really didn't learn
anything or find any patterns because it was 15 feet above normal. If it
stays that way then it will be tough."
Beyond the high water, Ponds said fishing against the clock and the sheer
size of the delta are the biggest challenges ahead next week. "We only have
two short days of practice time and there is so much water to cover, so
having it drop some will help. There will not be enough time to cover it
all. Whoever picks the right area and stays with it will be the winner."
Colorado champ Donnie Cox spent nine days cruising the flooded Delta during
the scouting period. He predicts it will take a minimum catch of 16 pounds
each day to win the three-day contest. Like Ponds, he hopes the Delta gets
smaller by next week. "The fish I found were scattered in flooded timber,
making them a tough catch. But if the water drops it will be easier to
pattern spawning fish and even post-spawners."
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is part of the Alabama Bass Trail, a network of top
bass fisheries with state parks spanning the entire state, from north to
south. While this will be the first federation championship held on the
fishery, the BASSMASTER Tournament Trail held a Top 150 event there last
Sponsors of the 2001 B.A.S.S. Federation Championship include: BC« Powders
Ranger« Boats, RangerTrail« Trailers, Mercury« Outboards,
Trucks, Humminbird«/Zercom«Marine, Flowmaster« Exhaust Systems,
Marine«, MotorGuide«Trolling Motors, Quantum « Rods and Reels, GMAC
Insurance, Gore-Tex« Outerwear, First USA Visa Card,Worldwaters.com,
Berkley« Trilene« , AC Delco, Berkley« PowerBait« , Eagle Claw«
Long John Silver╣s Restaurants, Kumho Tires, Mobile Sports Commission, the
City of Mobile and the State of Alabama.