BASS Reporter’s Notebook: Bassmaster.com Brings This Week’s Bassmaster Elite Series Event to Fans Any Way They Want It

Category: press release

 Mar 31st, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Mar 31st, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Riding shotgun in a pro’s boat as a Bassmaster Elite Series Marshal would be a great way to experience the upcoming Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, the Evan Williams Bourbon Dixie Duel.

But fans can feel almost as close to the Thursday-Sunday competition on Wheeler Lake in northwestern Alabama by following along at Bassmaster.com.

Jeremy Starks after his Elite win at Wheeler Lake in 2008 (Photo Courtesy of BASS)

A full coverage schedule is posted at Bassmaster.com, and below are just some of the many online features, all free. (Note that times listed are Eastern.)

• PLAY BY PLAY: Thursday and Friday, April 1-2 at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Bassmaster Elite Series emcee Keith Alan will host Hooked Up Updates. He’ll be joined Saturday by ESPN Outdoors personalities Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders at 10 a.m. and noon, and again at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The three hosts will team up again for in-depth updates before Sunday’s finale. Click in at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

• FLY ON THE WALL: Saturday and Sunday, fans can watch what’s happening on two competitors’ boats via BASSCast cameras perched on the transoms. For the online viewer, it’s a bit like being the proverbial fly on the wall. Watchers are advised to hang on when the pro cranks the big motor and takes it to 70 mph.

• ANSWER MEN: Bassmaster University’s popular “Ask the Experts” session will begin about 4:15 p.m. Saturday. This will be a rare opportunity to hear what several Elite pros have to say about the Wheeler Lake fishery. The host will be Mark Jeffreys.

• WEIGHT WATCHERS: Fans can monitor the weigh-ins via real-time leaderboards through all four days of competition.

• THE i WAY: Fans can download daily audio interviews to their iPods.

• TEXT INTO IT: Fans can sign up for text alerts to be sent to their cell phones (all normal provider charges apply).

• GUESS AGAIN: Educated guesses and wild stabs alike are now being accepted for the Ramada Worldwide Winning Weight Game. Fans can enter online or by texting their best estimate of the Wheeler winning weight to 4ESPN (43776). (See below for details and news of the season’s first winner.)

• THE BEST SHOTS: BASS photographers might make it look easy, but photography of – or from – moving bass boats takes talent and skill. Multiple photo galleries by the best in the business will be posted at Bassmaster.com.

MISSISSIPPI MAN WINS BASS SWEEPSTAKES: Jay Bourgeois of Gautier, Miss., said he was astounded to hear he was the grand-prize winner in the 2009 BASS Freshwater Gear Up Giveaway Sweepstakes presented by Bass Pro Shops.

After all, Bourgeois had entered just one time, even though he could have put his name in the hat once a day for a month, the duration of the sweepstakes on Bassmaster.com.

“I can’t tell you how very – no, how extremely surprised I was to win,” said Bourgeois, an avid tournament angler and district sales manager for a manufacturer of metal shelving and cabinets. “I don’t remember signing up but one time, even though I go to Bassmaster.com frequently. But once was all it took.”

Bourgeois won a package of tackle and equipment valued at more than $4,000. His prizes included a Bass Pro Shops XL Pro Qualifier rainsuit, Stalker Net and Extreme rod-reel combo.

He also won an OPTIMA BlueTop marine battery; an Abu Garcia Revo S reel; a variety of lures from Excalibur, BOOYAH, Bomber, YUM and Berkley; Fenwick Elite Tech Froggin’ Stik rod; one-year BASS Insider membership; Costa del Mar Fathom sunglasses; Jason Quinn Evan Williams jersey; Skeeter hat; SpongeTech boat/car washing kit; and Lowrance/Navico HDS-5 electronics unit.

Bourgeois said another big prize, a Minn Kota Fortrex trolling motor, will be a perfect upgrade for the smallest of the two bass boats he owns, a 14-foot aluminum model.

“The aluminum rig is great for the shallows of river systems around here,” Bourgeois said.

GET SALTY AND WIN: With the BASS Freshwater Gear Up Giveaway Sweepstakes wrapped up (see above), a saltier version will begin Wednesday, April 1, at http://www.ESPNOutdoors.com.

All prizes in the ESPN Outdoors Saltwater Gear Up Giveaway are tailored to saltwater fishing, such as a MotorGuide VariMax Saltwater 70-pound-thrust trolling motor. The complete prize package is valued at more than $3,000.

The grand prize package will include items from OPTIMA Batteries, Berkley, Costa Del Mar, Gill North America, MotorGuide and Quantum.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET on April 1, one entry per day per person will be accepted. The sweepstakes continues through April 30. Fans can enter the contest once per day by clicking here.

When registering, fans can also get information on the new ESPN Outdoors Saltwater Magazine and the EOSS television coverage, which debuts Sunday, April 5, at 8:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2. Additionally, ESPN Deportes will feature episodes of the EOSS starting Saturday, April 4 at 6 a.m., making the outdoors programming the first of its kind on ESPN Deportes.

In 2008, BASS celebrated its 40th anniversary with a similar promotion. Fans could win prizes ranging from a Toyota Tundra wrapped boat to a Triton Tr-21X2 powered by a Mercury 250 Pro XS.

THAT’S THE BREAKS: Melinda Mize of Ben Lomond, Ark., is a member of a family of professional anglers, so she probably has heard just about every equipment malfunction story imaginable.

But she was shaking her head nonetheless about what happened to her on Day Two of the March 26-28 Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour event on Neely Henry Lake out of Gadsden, Ala.

“I had just caught a 2-pound fish, and on the very next cast I got bit again. I set the hook, started reeling in – the fish is way out there – and it was like my reel was locked up. All of a sudden I saw my reel bust into pieces. As I grabbed the line, I saw the fish come up.

“At that point, I’m hand-lining the fish, trying to pull it around with the rod tip. I finally got it to the boat and my co-angler netted it. I don’t know how we did it, but we did. It was one of my good fish that day, and I knew I needed it.

“Then I picked up another rod and reel and threw out again. I got hit, I set the hook and it felt like a rock. I heard a noise, a ‘pop.’ My co-angler is shouting, ‘There went your rod,’ and I look down and my rod was broken in half. I missed that fish.”

Despite her initial misfortune, her luck soon changed. It happened while she was fighting Neely Henry’s fast current in fairly deep water and got a solid hit. It was about a 2-pounder, giving Mize a Day Two weight of 11-7, good enough to push her up from 15th into fourth place, well into the top-20 cut for the final day of competition. She finished the tournament in 10th place.

Melinda’s father is Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jimmy Mize, her mother is Open and WBT pro Lucy Mize and her brother is Bassmaster Open pro Matt Mize.

RAMADA CONTEST WINNER: A California man has been declared the first winner in the 2009 Ramada Worldwide Winning Weight Game, a contest on Bassmaster.com that invites fans to pinpoint what weight will be needed to win an upcoming Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.

John Stigar, 38, of Costa Mesa, Calif., correctly predicted it would take 96 pounds, 6 ounces, to win the Elite season opener, the March 12-15 OPTIMA Batteries Battle on the Border on Texas’ Lake Amistad.

When the event was done, contest officials determined that Stigar was the only player to exactly match the four-day total of Battle on the Border winner Jason Williamson of Aiken, S.C.

Funny thing was, although Stigar monitored the weigh-ins, he was surprised when contest officials called to tell him he’d won.

“I entered weeks before the tournament, so I didn’t remember my exact weight,” said Stigar, a facilities engineer who said he enjoys fishing local tournaments. “I thought I put down 96 pounds, 3 ounces. I knew I’d been close, but thought someone must have beat me.”

He said his entry submitted at Bassmaster.com wasn’t exactly a random guess.

“I looked up past tournaments on Amistad, and scaled back my entry when I saw that weights had been dropping lately,” he said.

Stigar will receive a big bag of Elite Series autographed items, a Ramada fleece pullover, 5,000 Wyndham Rewards points and a collection of tackle and outdoor gear.

The Ramada Worldwide Winning Weight Game applies to all eight 2009 regular-season Elite events. Entries are accepted at Bassmaster.com or by texting their winning weight guesses to 4ESPN (43776).

From the eight winners, one will be randomly selected at the end of the Elite season to win the grand prize, a $1,000 shopping spree from Bass Pro Shops.

ANOTHER ELITE BABY: On March 18, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Todd Faircloth and his wife, Angie, welcomed another child into the world.

Baby girl Helen Claire weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces. She joined siblings Hudson and Harrison at home in Jasper, Texas.

At least two other BASS pros became parents this month. Elite pro John Murray and his wife, Amy, had a boy; and Audrey McQueen, who competes in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour, and her husband, Roger, had a girl.

Coincidentally, the Murray baby and McQueen baby were born in Phoenix on the same weekend, March 14-15.

About BASS

For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s sports broadband network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.


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