BASS Vice President and General Manager Talks BASS

Don Rucks took a few moments to talk about some of the accomplishments BASS has made this year as well as what’s upcoming with the 2007 season, including bass fishing’s most major event, the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

Q: BASS is coming out of the first Bassmaster Major, the Bassmaster Memorial that was in Fort Worth, Texas. Do you consider it a success?

A: Yes, I was really pleased with the first Major. BASS had a successful and fun outdoors expo, the fans and members were very enthusiastic at the weigh-ins in Fort Worth and the final day weigh-in was on ESPN2. I really couldn’t have asked for a better way to introduce the three events.

Q: The Elite Series is about halfway over now. How do you feel it's going?

A: I have heard nothing but positive feedback from the athletes, the sponsors, BASS employees and the industry. We wanted to introduce a top-rate season in 2006 and it certainly has delivered.

Q: Talk a little about the 2007 CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Are you excited about going back to Birmingham?

A: Yes, I am, but even more so are the anglers, BASS members and fans. The readers of Bassmaster magazine recently named Birmingham as America’s bass capital earlier this year and I love serving those fans. Plus, BASS was born and raised in Alabama, making our return with the Classic more exciting for us. v Q: What are your thoughts about the Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats? That also made its debut this year.

A: I am very pleased with the turnout as well as the support so far the women’s tour has gotten. At both of the events, we’ve had full fields and everyone affiliated with this has something to be proud about. BASS also recently announced the women’s championship (Feb. 22-25, 2007) for the top 12 women and I expect that to really put the women on the map of professional bass fishing.

Q: The BASS Federation Nation recently hit 20,000 members. How is that process going?

A: We are steadily building the Federation Nation into the national powerhouse that we all know it can be. There’s leadership established in every state where it existed before, we’re getting interest from new states including Nevada and Hawaii and other countries like Spain and Portugal and it’s making a real difference at the grassroots level. (Anyone interested in joining the Federation Nation can visit for more information.)

Q: BASS Saturday and other programming on ESPN2 underwent some changes recently. Are you pleased with the ratings? Which is your favorite show?

A: I really need to congratulate the ESPN Outdoors production staff on this one. They have worked hard to take an already successful block of programming and elevate it to the next level to serve both the diehards, like me, and the more casual outdoorsman. As for a favorite show, it’s hard to pick but I really like the new B.A.S.S. INSIDER show. (ESPN2, BASS Saturdays, 8 a.m. ET)

Q: What area of BASS do you see the most growth?

A: Basic membership, and for that matter, all membership platforms including the BASS Federation Nation. Membership has always been a cornerstone of BASS and by better understanding the needs of our members, we’re providing them with products, services and tools they need to become better anglers.

Q: How would you characterize BASS' leadership position in the marketplace?

A: As an all-encompassing organization – and that’s memberships, tournaments, programming, conservation, youth, publications and more – in the sport of bass fishing, BASS is the leader by far.

Q: The sport has evolved so much in this past year. Is BASS going to continue changing its format every year?

A: Well, I know that change isn’t easy and we don’t make changes on a whim, but to continue to meet the marketplace needs – to continue aligning with the best partners and expanding on the most successful parts of the business – BASS is committed to make changes where and when they are needed. BASS has nearly 40 years of heritage, prestige and history and we’re continuing to build on that.

Q: Everyone is awaiting the big news on the 2007 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series schedule. When will you announce it?

A: We’re finalizing the 2007 schedule as we speak and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I can’t disclose the schedule for next year at this time but like this season, we’re putting the very best anglers on some of the best fisheries in America at prime times during the year. And before you ask, yes, the West Coast is under serious consideration.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation 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