Tournament fishing will never be the same.
While substantial money is involved in these events – more than $4 million based on a full field in all tournaments – what makes them unique is the format and concept that a true weekend angler can now qualify for fishing’s most prestigious contest, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.
“We’re very proud to offer a tournament series that gives so much back to the core bass anglers who now have an affordable way to try tournament fishing,” said BASS General Manager Don Rucks.
“This was the missing platform to help us connect with anglers who want to compete but may not be ready for the Federation or Open levels,” said Bruce Mathis, BASS Director of Events & Tournaments.
Each of the 80 regular season events in the “Weekend Series” will be a one-day tournament held on a Sunday, allowing even the most time-pressed basser the opportunity to feed his craving for angling competition. Perhaps best of all, the series creates a true entry level for anglers who may never have fished competitively before.
Robert Barnette, 62, of Coco, Fla., is a veteran of many local tournaments, but had never fished a BASS tournament before the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series pilot event on Lake Okeechobee in December of 2004.
“It’s something I always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity,” Barnette explained. “I’ve done pretty well in local tournaments, but I wanted to try my skills against the ‘big boys’ in a BASS event.”
Those skills served him well as Barnette took fourth place among non-boaters in the pilot tournament. He promised that it won’t be his last time fishing the series.
“I had a terrific time and a terrific partner,” Barnette gushed. “My schedule may not allow me to fish them all, but I’ll definitely fish all I can!”
Bass anglers are a passionate and often competitive group. The Bassmaster Series lets them test their skills for big prize money without investing a lot of their time or money in the experience.
With 16 tournament divisions and tournament waters in 16 different states, the Bassmaster Series promises to have wide appeal for anyone who wants to wet a line for bass and get a taste of modern tournament fishing, a sport that BASS invented more than 37 years ago.
The Series consists of 80 one-day events with all cash payouts that lead to four regional championship events and a “second chance” tournament before a series championship that will send its winner to the world championship of bass fishing, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.
With entry fees of just $200 for boaters and $100 for non-boaters, top-notch tournament angling is now within reach of virtually everyone who wants to try it. And with top cash prizes of $6,000 for the top boater and $3,000 to the top non-boater in each of the regular season events, good money awaits those who are successful.
And the money only gets bigger from there! In each of the four regional championships, the top boater will take home $50,000 and the top non-boater will win $25,000!
In the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series Championship event, the top boater will earn $100,000 and a trip to the Classic, while the best non-boater will take home $50,000!
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 series, 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 on the ESPN Outdoors Bassmaster Series, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com for a full schedule, rules and registration information.