Cowan, of Pennsylvania and a member of the that state BASS Federation chapter, said he is actively expressing his support of the Federation because it has afforded him numerous benefits, including two previous entries into bass fishing’s most major event. Cowan will try to defend his Federation Championship title on Jan. 11-13, and earn a third berth into the 2006 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26 on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.
“BASS has so many great programs for the Federation,” Cowan said. “Not only the Federation divisionals and berths into the Classic, but also the CastingKids and the kids (Junior Bassmaster) championship.”
Cowan said there are additional benefits beyond those tournaments. Federation membership includes a subscription to BASS Times, insurance coverage, priority entry into BASS circuits, sponsorship programs, travel assistance to national CastingKids events, conservation workshops and more.
“I think the BASS Federation is a lot more than the Classic berths. If other organizations wanted to have a program like this, they have every opportunity to try to develop them.
“As far as a hobby or weekend guy, this is the best deal in tournament fishing. You don’t have to risk life and limb to get to the big show.”
The “big show” is where Cowan now has his sights set.
The Federation Championship involves 55 qualified anglers battling for a share of $50,000 and six berths in the Classic. Each day, a $1,000 Purolator Big Bass bonus also will be awarded. The field includes members from 47 state chapters and Japan, South Africa, Italy, Zimbabwe, Canada and Mexico. The winner and the top anglers from each of the remaining five Federation divisions will go on to the Classic and also receive automatic qualification into the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Southern or Northern Tour.
In addition, the contender with the largest one-day catch earns a spot in the 2006 BUSCH Shootout.
Given his track record, Cowan has to be considered one of the pre-tournament favorites. He has displayed a knack of performing well under pressure in previous BASS Federation Championships.
“Some guys get caught up in other things in these showcase-type championship tournaments and let the pressure get to them,” Cowan said. “As far as fishing, it’s just another tournament. Everybody who has made it has really accomplished something. Some guys get really devastated when they do poorly. But I think the guys just need to enjoy it and look at it as just another tournament.
“Anybody that gets this far in tournament fishing is capable of winning a big thing like this if they don’t beat themselves up. They’ve got the ability.”
The Federation Championship daily launches and weigh-ins will take place at Venetian Gardens Community Center in Leesburg.
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.
BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry’s widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.