First-Ever Championship Gives Female Pros High-Profile Showcase

CELEBRATION, Fla. — Fishing history will be made when the inaugural Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship kicks off Feb. 22-24 on Alabama’s Lake Mitchell. The nation’s top female anglers will enjoy the brightest spotlight in the sport of bass-fishing over the three competition days.

The championship event will be held as part of Bassmaster Classic week and will pit the top 12 pros and co-anglers from the 2006 Toyota Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year standings. The champion in the professional division will be crowned on the Classic stage at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

The WBT field is highlighted by four Tennessee, three Arkansas and two Texas pros including Toyota WBT Angler of the Year Dianna Clark and AOY runner-up Tammy Richardson. A complete list of anglers can be found below.

“It is awesome,” Georgia contender Pam Martin-Wells said. “When I saw commercials for previous Bassmaster Classics, I literally got goose bumps. So when this takes place and it’s my turn to step out on that stage, I just hope I don’t faint.”

Martin-Wells, perhaps the most decorated female angler in the sport, assures fishing fans who will get their first taste of the WBT anglers during Bassmaster Classic week that there are some extremely talented anglers in the group.

“There are 12 pros and they’re all excellent anglers,” the WBT preview event winner said. “So it’s not going to be a cakewalk, but stiff competition makes for a good show.”

One of those anglers is 57-year-old Juanita Robinson. The Highlands, Texas, angler just scored a big, record-setting victory (heaviest WBT winning weight recorded) this past weekend in the 2007 WBT season-opener at Texas’ Lake Amistad with a three-day catch of 56 pounds, 8 ounces.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Robinson. “The win has given me a ton of confidence and I am pumped and ready to go.

“Preparation is mostly a mental thing — keeping the momentum going and treating the Championship as a regular tournament. I’m hoping all of the hype and the media attention doesn’t cause me to lose focus.”

Lake Mitchell, part of the Coosa River chain, is a 5,850-acre Alabama Power Company hydroelectric reservoir located about 10 miles east of Clanton in central Alabama. It is the smallest impoundment of the Coosa chain, which is noted for the Alabama subspecies of spotted bass.

At stake in the championship event is cash and merchandise totaling $225,750, including a first-place prize of a 2007 fully rigged Triton boat valued at $50,000 as well as $10,000 cash (the winning co-angler receives a similar package valued at $24,000, plus $1,000 cash).

The 12 pro anglers will compete for two days before the field is cut to six for the final round of competition. On the final day of competition, the top six pros will weigh-in on the Bassmaster Classic stage at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. All 12 co-anglers will compete in a two-day tournament culminating on Friday, Feb. 23.

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 sanctions and stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the 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 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

Sponsors of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour include Mercury Marine, Triton Boats, Toyota, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advance Auto Parts and Plano.

For more information, call BASS Communications at 407-566-2208. To join BASS, visit www.Bassmaster.com or call 1-877-BASS-USA.