(May. 18, 2011 - Celebration, FL.)... College B.A.S.S. kicks off this week: On July 11, a single college-age angler will claim one of bass fishing’s biggest prizes: an entry in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.
The first steps toward that banner day will happen May 20-21, the dates of the 2011 season opener of the College B.A.S.S. circuit. The tournament, the College B.A.S.S. East Super Regional, will be on the Alabama River out of Montgomery, Ala., birthplace of B.A.S.S.
"We’re expecting about 50 two-angler teams from colleges and universities throughout the eastern United States," said tournament manager Hank Weldon. The teams will compete for prize money awarded to their entire college team, bragging rights for their college and the chance to advance to the next level.
That next level is the College B.A.S.S. National Championship, July 7-9 in Little Rock, Ark. Qualifiers from the East Super Regional, along with two other regional events this season, will compete in the championship. The two anglers on the winning National Championship team will compete against each other July 11 for the Classic berth.
At this week’s event, team members will fish from the same boat and combine their catches. Each team can weigh up to five largemouth or spotted bass (minimum length of 12 inches). The team with the heaviest weight over two days will win.
The public is invited to watch the students bring their catches to the scales. The weigh-ins will begin at 4 p.m. CT at the corner of Commerce and Tallapoosa streets at the downtown Riverwalk facility on the banks of the Alabama River. The tournament will run concurrently with Montgomery’s annual Jubilee Cityfest.
Daily results will be available at the Bassmaster website. College B.A.S.S. events will be aired on ESPNU at dates to be announced.
This is the sixth season for College B.A.S.S., but the first under the B.A.S.S. corporate umbrella. Previously run by JM Associates as College Bass, the circuit migrated to B.A.S.S. after JM Associates was purchased by B.A.S.S. in April. After a slight name change, the student circuit is now known as College B.A.S.S.
Information about the entire 2011 season is available at the Bassmaster website/college.
Scroggins takes the hot seat: Backstage after the third event of the Bassmaster Elite Series season, Terry Scroggins declared it was way too early to be strategizing about the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
Now, three events later, it’s no longer too early for dreams of triumph and plans of how to get there. And, boy, does Scroggins now have something to dream about: The pro from Palatka, Fla., took the TTBAOY lead after the Evan Williams Bourbon Carolina Clash, but by only 19 points over former leader Alton Jones and former No. 3 Kevin VanDam.
Jones and VanDam have accumulated the same number of points, but VanDam’s to-date weight tally beats that of Jones, so VanDam was awarded the No. 2 spot in the standings, which change after each Elite Series event.
Classic race heats up: Who is lining up to compete in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic?
The Top 28 in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings will qualify for the Bassmaster Classic in February 2012 on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La. In the case of double-qualifiers, B.A.S.S. will work down the list further.
The Top 28 saw many changes after last weekend’s Evan Williams Bourbon Carolina Clash. Some of the more significant moves around that cutline:
Denny Brauer fell out (28th to 41st).
Stephen Browning also created some work for himself (26th to 34th).
Michael Iaconelli climbed up to safer ground (27th to 16th).
Todd Faircloth (30th to 23rd) ducked under the rope.
Rookie Brandon Palaniuk crept closer (37th to 29th) to his second Classic appearance.
Bill Lowen continued to slip, this time from 22nd to 30th.
DeFoe solidifies: A close look at the numbers reveals that Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., is now running away with the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year contest.
A week ago, DeFoe had only 48 points on Andy Montgomery; DeFoe now is 156 points ahead of Montgomery. David Walker, trailing Montgomery by far a week ago, now is only 23 points behind Montgomery.
The change-up can be traced back to how the three did at last weekend’s Lake Murray event. Montgomery finished in 82nd place. DeFoe did better at 28th; Walker ended at 40th.
DeFoe is making his mark in the overall points race, too. He’s now in seventh place, a remarkable showing for a rookie.
Life is good for new dad Billy McCaghren: Billy McCaghren didn’t make the Top 50 cut in the Carolina Clash on May 13, but cut him some slack. He had something else to do that Friday: get back home to Mayflower, Ark., for the birth of his first child.
McCaghren was on the water, 800 miles away from home, when he got a call from his wife, Norma, at about 11 a.m. on May 13, three days before the baby’s due date. (McCaghren had been cleared by tournament officials to take a call from the water.) Here’s how the conversation went, according to McCaghren:
"Are you catching them?" Norma asked. "Do you have your limit yet?"
"Yes," McCaghren said. "But Norma, you can’t be calling me just to ask if I’m catching them."
"I’m not," she said, "but since you have your limit, you might want to come home. I’m in labor."
He called tournament officials, who allowed him to come off the water early. He left his truck and boat in the hands of friends. Tilly Davis, wife of Elite Series pro Mark Davis, drove McCaghren to the Charlotte, N.C., airport. He caught a flight Friday night to Little Rock and arrived in time for the baby’s birth in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
McCaghren got credit for his Friday catch, thanks to his marshal, Brandon Bryant of South Carolina. Bryant held McCaghren’s Friday catch at the tanks until 2 p.m., when the scales officially opened for early weigh-ins.
Mother and baby boy, named Callen, are doing well, McCaghren reported. He is, too.
"I didn’t catch enough to make the money cut, but May 13 is the best day of my Elite Series career," he said. "Now I just sit and look at him; I am so thankful to have a child."
McCaghren, 39, had not expected to have a child.
Callen already owns a life jacket, fishing pole and a baby blanket with fish on it, handmade by the mother of Elite Series pro Jami Fralick.
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 Bassmaster website, ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel 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 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.