Central Florida to Host 2005 BASS Federation Championship

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The 2005 BASS Federation Championship will be contested on two Florida lakes, BASS announced today, taking the world’s top amateur anglers to both Lake Tohopekaliga and to Bay Lake at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista on April 27-30, 2005.

“For the first time, the BASS Federation is introducing a ‘cut’ format to our championship event,” said BASS Federation Director Don Corkran. “We will be cutting from the top 55 amateur anglers in the world to 15 after two days of competition on Lake Toho, where Dean Rojas caught a record five-bass limit weighing 45 pounds, 2 ounces. The smaller field will compete on Disney’s Bay Lake, a spectacular fishery that few tournament anglers get to fish.”

The three anglers with the highest cumulative two-day weight in each of the BASS Federation’s five geographic divisions will make the cut. In order to accommodate the new format, the competition week will shift from two practice days and three competition days to a single practice day followed by four days of competition.

After two days of competition on Lake Toho, the 15 anglers making the “cut” will move on to Bay Lake for the final two rounds.

Local organizers are excited about the possibilities for the tournament and week of associated activities, including the Bassmaster CastingKids semifinals and meetings for BASS Federation presidents and conservation directors.

“We are excited to be working with Osceola County and The Walt Disney Company to stage this prestigious event within our community,” said John Saboor, Executive Director of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “Our goal is to exceed the expectations of all involved and set the foundation for Osceola County to be positioned to host on a regular basis.”

To qualify for the tournament, amateur anglers from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Italy, Canada, Mexico and Japan compete in a series of qualifying tournaments to represent their state or national BASS Federations. The 2005 champion of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Grand National tournament and defending BASS Federation champion Thad Takes are also invited to fish for the top spot and one of five amateur berths in the 2005 Bassmaster Classic.

For many of the anglers, the opportunity to compete in a tournament on Bay Lake at the Walt Disney World Resort is an especially unique chance. The fishery, which was first stocked with more than 70,000 bass fingerlings in the late 1960s, is primarily open to guided daily excursions for resort guests and Florida residents throughout the year, rather than a tournament site.

“The BASS Federation Championship provides a wonderful opportunity for competitive anglers to experience Bay Lake and other fishing resources at Walt Disney World Resort,” added Greg Waldron, fisheries manager for Disney Sports Attractions. “With BASS relocating to Central Florida in Spring 2005, we hope the Federation Championship is just the start of many BASS events to be contested at the world’s most popular vacation destination.”

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The Bassmaster Tournament Trail 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.

Local Sponsors include the Central Florida Sports Commission and the Kissimmee-St. Cloud Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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