There is little doubt whatsoever that true trophy bass hunter purists could care less about the glory associated with tournament bass angling. There is equally little doubt that most tournament bass anglers will fish for a limit and only after getting it will they “swing for the fence” by throwing baits that are inherently known for catching big bass.
On Friday, January 25, 2008 these two groups will come together in a true clash of the Titans to determine who the best big bass fisherman really is. It is an event that will bridge the decades long gap between trophy bass hunters and tournament anglers in an unprecedented format dubbed the “Heavyweight Bass Classic”. The event will take place on Lake Casitas, one of the country’s most notorious trophy bass lakes, and will be the inaugural event of what promoters and sponsors hope will become an annual two or three-event series throughout the West, and possibly beyond.
The Heavyweight Bass Classic is an idea that has been a dream of Ken Huddleston, the event’s title sponsor, for over two decades. Huddleston, the president and CEO of Huddleston Deluxe, Inc., is one of the country’s most talented and successful swimbait designers and manufacturers, having produced such baits for over thirty years.
“It’s no secret that swimbaits were born in the West and are responsible for more trophy bass being caught than any other specialty bait”, notes Ken Huddleston. “But what has surprised all of us in this industry is that it has taken so long for swimbaits to make their way onto the national tournament scene. Sure, there have been a lot of team and regional tournaments won on swimbaits, but it wasn’t until Byron Velvick won a Bassmaster tournament at Clear Lake on swimbaits that national touring pros began to take a serious look at swimbaits. And even then, it still took another five or six years before (swimbaits) gained national attention when Steve Kennedy won the Bassmaster Elite tournament at Clear Lake,” adds Huddleston. The event that Ken Huddleston is speaking of is the Bassmaster Elite Series “Golden State Shootout” held at Clear Lake last April where Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Alabama won with a phenomenal weight of 122 pounds, 14 ounces, setting a new four-day B.A.S.S. record. Ironically, Kennedy credits his historic victory to the Huddleston Deluxe Trout swimbait.
The inaugural Heavyweight Bass Classic (HBC-1) will utilize a format of the likes never seen before in professional bass fishing competition. It will be a one fish – big fish, winner-takes-all event, with the winner receiving $10,000 based on a full field of 50 anglers. In addition to the prize money, the winner of HBC-1 will also receive a hand-crafted custom made “Heavyweight Bass Classic Champion” belt valued at over $1,000. The HBC-1 champion will maintain possession of this Champion belt (and all associated bragging rights) until they are dethroned by the winner of HBC-2 (and so on) or for a period of one year - which ever comes first. Anglers finishing in 2nd place through 10th place will receive top quality merchandise provided by the many great co-sponsors of the Heavyweight Bass Classic series.
HBC-1 will feature a 50-angler field, of which 25 will be by invitation from among the biggest names in trophy bass fishing. The balance of the entries will be open to all big bait enthusiasts and tournament anglers on a First come – First served basis. Each of the 50 anglers will fish solo out of their own boats and each boat will have a non-fishing volunteer tournament official on-board. For the second and all subsequent Heavyweight Bass Classic events, the Top-20 point earners will receive priority entry status, with the remaining slots filled with open entries. The dates and locations of the remaining events have not yet been finalized.
The entry fee for the inaugural Heavyweight Bass Classic is $200 per angler, with a guaranteed 100% payback regardless of the number of anglers entered. Registration for HBC-1 will begin on Saturday, November 17th at the Anglers Marine Bass-A-Thon and will continue until the 50-angler field is filled. In the event that the 50-angler field is not filled at the Bass-A-Thon, mail-in entries will be accepted beginning on Monday, November 19, 2008. Mail-in registration forms will be available on-line after the Bass-A-Thon via e-mail request (in .pdf format) at email@example.com. Registrations for volunteer tournament officials will be accepted in the same manner as the angler registrations.
For further information on the inaugural Heavyweight Bass Classic, check out the Huddleston Deluxe website at: http://www.huddlestondeluxe.com.