MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Berkley and Abu Garcia will become a Premiere Sponsor of BASS, the worldwide authority on bass fishing, officials announced today.

As part of a premier sponsorship, Abu Garcia rods and reels, Berkley Power Bait and Gulp! bait, and Berkley Trilene Line will support the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer, as well as the world championship of professional bass fishing, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer. Abu Garcia will also sponsor the Cast for a Million, an annual BASS sweepstakes whose winner will get to cast for $1 million at the Classic in Charlotte, N.C this summer.

"Pure Fishing is a perfect match for our organization," said Dean Kessel, Vice President and General Manager of BASS. "They are very consumer oriented and get behind grassroots initiatives to grow the sport we all love. We are pleased to work with another organization whose commitment to the everyday angler matches our own."

The Premiere Sponsorship agreement is a major step forward in the company's longstanding marketing relationship with BASS. Berkley and Abu Garcia, which operate under the trade umbrella name of Pure Fishing, have been a major advertiser with BASS for more than 20 years and a popular presence in the BASS Sponsor Expos and Classic Outdoors Show.

"Berkley and BASS have both enjoyed a tradition of working closely together and Abu Garcia represents the standard for dependable baitcast reel performance to bass anglers worldwide," said Pure Fishing Chairman Tom Bedell. "Now, with our sponsorship of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail and CITGO Bassmaster Classic, a host of opportunities exist that will benefit both organizations as well as anglers.

"Our sponsorship allows us to enhance our relationship with the angler, which is truly the heart and soul of both Berkley and Abu Garcia. We not only want to communicate with anglers about our products, but more importantly want to listen to anglers about their needs and what they are looking for in their bass angling."

Established in 1937, Berkley is recognized as one of the world's leading producers of technologically superior fishing products that are designed and engineered to "Catch More Fish." Berkley has committed significant resources to research and development, a strategy that has resulted in a legendary product lineup, including Trilene, Power Bait, Frenzy lures, Gulp! biodegradeable baits, and a host of other innovations that catch more fish.

Abu Garcia was founded in Svangsta, Sweden in 1921. It has grown to be a world leader in fishing reel development. Abu Garcia represents precision reel performance delivered by its legendary Swedish engineering and craftsmanship. Such quality and precision have given way to the Cardinal spinning reel, the world-famous Ambassadeur baitcasters, the legendary 5500C, the state-of-the-art Mörrum and the latest innovation of low-profile baitcasters - the hot, new Törno.

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. In 2004, BASS will introduce the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.