The Briefing: Anglers absorb crucial details for the 41st Bassmaster Classic
Feb 16th, 2011 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Feb 16th, 2011 at 12:00 AM
NEW ORLEANS – The anglers’ full focus was on Trip Weldon at the front of the room. The B.A.S.S. tournament director was detailing tournament rules for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic competition that begins Friday on the Louisiana Delta.
|Tournament Director Trip Weldon addresses the Classic field during the official rules meeting Wednesday. (Photo B.A.S.S.)|
Weldon wanted to be sure all 50 Classic qualifiers understood the rules. He often stopped to clarify, or to ask for confirmation that the anglers followed what he said, or to field a question.
Woe be to the angler who allowed his attention to drift. He would risk walking away from the meeting without a clear grasp of possible missteps. This tournament, after all, is the world championship. It’s also high stakes: $500,000 to the winner, $10,000 to last place.
That’s more than enough of a difference to command anyone’s attention.
Facing a fishery like the Louisiana Delta, even the veterans listened up. For any of its tournaments, B.A.S.S. provides a verbal walk-through of rules highlights, and even more so for a Classic. Most anglers are familiar with the official do’s and don’ts; it’s the same set of rules under which the 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series operated.
Discussions centered on no-wake zones, identifying private backwaters, and how to free a grounded boat without violating the rules. These were real concerns; getting stuck on the Delta isn’t hard. Low water levels made that a common occurrence when the field spent three days of pre-practice last Friday through Sunday learning the fishery.
The no-wake zones can be confusing if the angler doesn’t have them mapped in his mind. But in this Classic on the vast Louisiana Delta, which around New Orleans alone stretches across many parishes, the chances of messing up are not small.
Sgt. Jason Russo of the New Orleans office of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was there to help answer the anglers’ questions. Sheriff’s deputies from Lafourche, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes also were on hand. After their presentations, anglers gathered for more discussion on one of the hottest topics: how to know if an area was public or private, thus legal fishing water or off-limits.
The angler meeting – the “briefing,” it’s called – happened Tuesday, the day before the 50-man field hit the water for the official practice day. It was preceded by a more social hour that was also the official registration. Anglers chatted among themselves, did some quick media interviews, posed for some TV pre-production video, and met with Classic sponsors.
Friends hung together, new acquaintances shook hands, young rookies tried not to act star-struck. All three new B.A.S.S. owners – Don Logan, Jim Copeland and Jerry McKinnis – were there, circulating to talk with the anglers.
Before Weldon began the briefing, McKinnis formally introduced Logan and Copeland. McKinnis then shared a memory of a 1968 B.A.S.S. tournament on Lake Seminole in which he competed.
“I thought all the way home what a cool week that was, and how great a sport could be made out of this, that we could do lots of things with it,” McKinnis said. “I’ve thought that way for the last 40-some years. … All of us together, we can really make something work here.”
2011 Bassmaster Classic Official Sponsors: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, Bass Pro Shops, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Skeeter, Triton, Yamaha
2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, Bass Pro Shops, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Skeeter, Triton, Yamaha
2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Nitro Boats, Power Pole, Ramada
2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Official Sponsors: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, Skeeter, Triton, Yamaha
2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Supporting Sponsors: Humminbird, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats
2011 Bassmaster Federation Championship and Federation Divisional Championships presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha, Skeeter Boats
2011 Bassmaster Federation Championship and Federation Divisional Championships presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats Official Sponsors: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, Skeeter, Triton, Yamaha
2011 Bassmaster Federation Championship and Federation Divisional Championships presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats Supporting Sponsors: Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota
For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.
The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications – Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times – comprehensive website Bassmaster.com, and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation events presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.
B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.