Elite Pros Showing up Everywhere

CELEBRATION, Fla. — Fishing fans can see their favorite Bassmaster Elite Series pros in a number of high-profile media outlets. The Elite Series is considered the most visible and prestigious tournament venue, and anglers are pleased with the benefits of their association with the tournament trail.

"It's important to maximize your press opportunities," said California Elite Series angler Ish Monroe. "When you are backed by a media giant in ESPN, you tend to receive exposure no matter what you do."

Two-time BASS winner Monroe would know as he was recently featured in Jet Magazine and as part of a front-page spread in the sports section of the Orlando Sentinel. The piece was a profile on Monroe as part of a series the Sentinel created in tribute to Black History Month.

The piece was also published by the Chicago Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and Charleston Post & Courier. In the article, Sentinel writer Kyle Hightower writes:

"One of the things that makes the bass circuit a marketing gold mine is its reach. About 45 million people fish — more than play golf or tennis. Somewhere around 9.5 million people watched all or part of the 12 hours of ESPN's Bassmaster Classic coverage in 2006 over its three days — up 61 percent from a year ago. And anglers spend $50 billion a year on all things fishing."

Former Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle is another Elite Series angler experiencing some mainstream publicity. In Maxim Magazine's March edition available on newsstands later this month, the Alabama pro lends his considerable bass-fishing expertise to the publication.

The magazine made a rare venture into fishing by asking Swindle to help them select 12 lures to stock in a tackle box. The result was a story titled: "Deadly Bassassin".

"They basically had the lures selected and called me to help them understand what each lure did," Swindle said. "I was told to remember that their reader was probably a novice angler at best."

Two crankbaits from Lucky Craft, one of Swindle's sponsors, were among a number of effective bass lures described in the article.

Meanwhile, Florida Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins attended the recent 63rd International Builders Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The Florida angler was representing Toyota during the event, which is the largest trade show in the world for builders, architects, contractors, designers, manufacturers and other professionals involved in every aspect of residential and light-commercial construction.

Won't You Let Me Take You On A Sea Cruise

Bassmaster Elite Series angler Jimmy Mize and wife Lucy, who recently finished in fourth-place at the Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats season-opener, recently enjoyed a weeklong cruise to Cozumel, Mexico; Belize; and the Bahamas.

"I missed the best week of duck hunting," Jimmy lamented. "But I went fishing one day. We caught one barracuda and something called a yellowtail."

And Lucy? "She laid on the beach and relaxed," he added.

Mr. Science

You think Royce Dennington, the high-school chemistry teacher from Oklahoma who won the BASS Federation Nation National championship on Alabama's Lake Neely Henry in January, is excited about the upcoming Bassmaster Classic Feb. 23-25?

Dennington told Tulsa, Okla., television station KOTV that for as long as he can remember he's dreamed of fishing in the Classic.

"You're reading it in magazines, you watch it on TV and all the television coverage of it," he told KOTV. "It's the Super Bowl! And you dream of going to the Super Bowl but you know that the reality is you're probably not going to get there."

Dennington also received a berth in the Bassmaster Open division of his choice via his Federation Nation Championship win and will participate in the Central division in 2007.

Wrap Rap

Look for Elite Series pro Paul Hirosky to again run a wrapped boat in 2007 that promotes Channellock, Inc., a leading manufacturer of high-quality pliers and assorted hand tools.

"We are thrilled to sponsor Paul again this year for the Elite Series," said Scott Jonap, Channellock vice president of sales and marketing. "He is an outstanding angler and a first-class ambassador for Channellock. We look forward to following Paul in his continued success on the tournament trail."

The Pennsylvania angler said, "Last year was a great learning experience for me. I competed against some of the best bass anglers in the world, and the exposure to the lakes and rivers on the tour will be an enormous help this year. I can't wait to get on the water and catch some fish."

Bizarre Classic Trivia

On the final morning of the 1984 Bassmaster Classic, runner-up Greg South arrived at his best spot — a dock that had produced two limits of bass — to find it gone. The homeowner was in the water with a chainsaw reducing the old dock to sawdust. Four-time Classic champion Rick Clunn went on to win the '84 edition of the Classic by the largest margin in history- 25 pounds, 8 ounces.

Did you know?

Nine Texas anglers qualified for the upcoming Bassmaster Classic on Alabama's Lay Lake, which is tied for the largest contingent with Alabama. Derek Remitz recently relocated from Hemphill, Texas, to Madison, Ala., which created the tie between the two state contingents.

The Texans include: Todd Faircloth of Jasper; Alton Jones of Waco; Kelly Jordon of Mineola; Gary Klein of Weatherford; James Niggemeyer of Van; Takahiro Omori of Emory; Matt Reed of Madisonville; Dean Rojas of Grand Saline and Zell Rowland of Montgomery.

If I hadn't become a BASS pro …

Classic contender Tom Hamlin would devote his full attention to his job as a sales rep. The 51-year-old Georgia pro, who will be competing in his second Classic this month, has been a manufacturer rep in the outdoors and sporting goods for more than 30 years.

They said it

"Actually, there is really no comparison. I don't mean to slight any other tournament circuits, but with BASS and ESPN and the whole outdoor show production it's going to be really exciting. I can't wait. Since they announced it, I've been on pins and needles. I wish it was tomorrow." —WBT Championship competitor Pam Martin-Wells, who has qualified for a number of other season-ending circuit championships, was asked to compare the upcoming event with her previous experience.