BASS Reporter’s Notebook: Bassmaster Elite Stop at Smith Mountain Marks a Special Anniversary for Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team

Category: press release

 Apr 14th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Apr 14th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

In June 2007, four college students attended the Bassmaster Elite Series event together on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. They were the sole members of the fledgling Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team.

It was about two months after the horrors of the well-documented shooting at the university, and BASS rolled out the red carpet for the students: Charlie Machek, Brett Thompson, Scott Wiley and Chase Grinnel. They made guest appearances on Hooked Up, the Bassmaster.com show that previews the final day’s weigh-in, were asked to write blogs for ESPNOutdoors.com and were introduced to a number of Elite Series pros.

Meeting Elite pro Chris Lane of Lakeland, Fla., turned out to be opportune.

“He’s a friend of a cousin of mine in Florida,” Machek said. “A month or so later, Chris called me and offered to sponsor us. He jump-started our club with funding. He’s a big part of the reason we’ve been so successful because he’s given us the means to make it to a lot of events.”

For two years, Lane has contributed a percentage of his Elite Series winnings to the team. He said he plans to continue his support.

“I feel like I’m giving something back to the sport,” Lane said. “I think there’s a huge future for the sport through college competitions.”

Since the team got going in 2007, it has earned the support of other sponsors and has grown to 25 team members, 15 of them actively fishing in tournaments. Their competition schedule is heavy (see http://www.bassfishingteamatvt.com). Virginia Tech has collected several trophies, including the top prize at the 2007 Under Armour College Bass National Championship on the Arkansas River.

And, just like professional anglers, the team makes appearances at consumer shows and expos, including the 2009 Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo in Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

April 23-26, when the Elite Series returns to Smith Mountain Lake for the Advance Auto Parts Blue Ridge Brawl, Machek and Wiley will take part. Each is signed up to serve as an Elite Series Marshal, an official observer in a pro’s boat. Being a Marshal means a front-row seat in bass fishing’s school of higher learning, and the guys can’t wait.

“Chris invited us to stay with him at his rental house, so that will give us an even more in-depth understanding of what the pros do to prepare for a tournament,” Machek said.

Machek, Thompson and Wiley are on track to graduate in May, but Machek said they’ll still be around to offer help to the team if needed. The founders are likely to be busy pursuing careers in their fields: Machek and Thompson will each have a degree in building construction, and Wiley will graduate with a degree in landscape architecture.

“We’re passing the club on to the younger members,” he said. “We’re pretty proud of it.”

IKE ON THE EDGE: “You think fishing’s luck? You’re wrong. Fishing’s an art. If you want to master your art, think outside the box and fish on the edge.”

That’s how Michael Iaconelli’s new four-minute show opens. Fishing on the Edge presented by Castrol Edge airs Saturday and Sunday mornings on ESPN2. The mini-shows debuted April 4.

In each show, the Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Runnemede, N.J., focuses on a cutting-edge technique. Crashing cranks and flick-shaking were the topics of the first two segments. Next up is stroking a jig set for ESPN2 at 8:56 a.m. ET Saturday, April 18, or at 6:26 a.m. ET Sunday, April 19.

The first two episodes are also available for viewing at ESPNOutdoors.com. The shows will air on ESPN2 through June 21.

ON DISPLAY: A visitor to the MVP Bar and Grill in the Spokane, Wash., airport, might expect to see Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball memorabilia in the restaurant’s display case. This month, however, the shelves are filled with bass fishing trophies and other fishing memorabilia.

Some of the items belong to Luke Clausen, Spokane resident and winner of the 2006 Bassmaster Classic. But teenage angler Joey Nania of Liberty Lake, Wash., also is represented well.

Nania’s 2005 and 2008 Junior Bassmaster World Championship trophies are in the case. Beside those two big ones are his 2008 Western Divisional and state championship awards.

The airport restaurant and Nania have something else in common: They both support the Rypien Foundation, which helps families of children who are battling cancer. The charity was founded by Washington Redskins quarterback and 1991 Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, who now lives in Spokane.

Nania has raised more than $10,000 for the foundation by donating guided fishing trips to be auctioned to the highest bidders.

BANDS OF GOLDBECK: On the weigh-in stage at the April 2-5 Evan Williams Bourbon Dixie Duel in Decatur, Ala., Elite pro Grant Goldbeck announced to the crowd that he would be signing autographs and handing out free wristbands to encourage kids to get into fishing.

The blue bands, which are imprinted with “Support Junior Bassmasters,” are created by Goldbeck’s sponsor Southern Outdoors America to promote The Longshank, its line of spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Goldbeck plans to hand out the bracelets to kids everywhere during his travels for the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series.

“The future of our sport is in the kids,” said Goldbeck, whose 4-year-old son, Kirby, already loves fishing.

From Gaithersburg, Md., Goldbeck has competed on the Elite tour for four years. He was a boxer for about 12 years before he broke his hands one time too many and had to develop another career.

BASSMASTER TOURNAMENT PODCASTS: Bassmaster senior editor Ken Duke and senior writer Steve Price are hosting a new series of podcasts available at Bassmaster.com. Fans can listen online, or download an MP3 file or iTunes podcast.

Duke and Price preview each Bassmaster Elite Series event, keep fans inside the competition as it happens and then recap the tournament.

DEBUT: The 2009 Bassmaster Northern Open season gets going this weekend, April 16-18 on Chesapeake Bay out of Cecil County, Md. Fans can watch the event, presented by Oakley, online at 2:20 p.m. ET at Bassmaster.com and check out real-time leaderboards, live streaming video of the weigh-ins and daily photo galleries and standings.

FIRST LADY: “It was everything that I anticipated it would be. I had a great time. Certainly, I’ll be trying to make it again, but I’d be more than happy to share that experience with another lady – everyone should go.” – 2008 Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year Kim Bain-Moore on her 2009 Bassmaster Classic experience as the first woman to compete

About BASS

For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multimedia 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 broadband sports 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, Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS annually sanctions more than 20,000 events.

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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