What’s UP in B.A.S.S.

Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall, BASS Conservation Director Chris Horton, and BASS writer David Hunter Jones set out June 28 on a five-day, 3,200-mile fishing trip in search of all eight members of the black bass family, a challenge that has been dubbed the BASS Slam. The trio will sleep in a tent (or the truck bed), fish from kayaks and …

This week, three BASS employees are attempting to demonstrate how the new BASS Slam can be accomplished in five days — and on the cheap, to boot.

Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall, BASS Conservation Director Chris Horton, and BASS writer David Hunter Jones set out June 28 on a five-day, 3,200-mile fishing trip in search of all eight members of the black bass family, a challenge that has been dubbed the BASS Slam. The trio will sleep in a tent (or the truck bed), fish from kayaks and travel together in a Toyota Tundra.

In going for a BASS Slam, they accepted their own company’s challenge. Bassmaster Magazine recently threw down the gauntlet in its July/August issue by asking readers: Can you catch an above-average representative of every black bass in the U.S.?

That, according to the magazine, means an example of a specified length for each of the eight Micropterus found in this country: Northern largemouth, Florida largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, shoal, redeye, Guadalupe and Suwanee bass.

The three-angler team is sharing its progress on Bassmaster.com, where photos and blogs of their experiences are frequently updated. Relative newcomers to Twitter, Horton and Hall will also provide updates via the social media service. A mapped itinerary for the group effort shows each stop in the quest to accomplish one slam.

First to contribute was Hall, who landed a 16-inch Florida largemouth at a small lake near Clermont, Fla.

On that same day the trio traveled to northern Florida for a Suwanee bass from the Santa Fe River. Horton scored that one. His 15-inch specimen was 5 inches longer than the slam requirement.

“Two species down during Day 1,” Hall wrote on the first day. “If we can keep up the pace, we’ll have all varieties of largemouth caught in five days…”

Their plan was to continue in Leesburg, Ga., fishing for shoal bass; Sessions, Ala., for redeye; New Hope, Ala., for smallmouth and spotted; Sattler, Texas for Guadalupe; and Chalmette, La., for Northern largemouth, before swinging back to BASS headquarters in Celebration, Fla.

Anglers who want to try for a BASS Slam can obtain details from the July/August issue of Bassmaster, or at Bassmaster.com. Participants can begin their efforts Wednesday, July 1. Unlike the BASS Slammers from Celebration, others have one year to complete the challenge.

ZONA AND CLASSIC SHOW TAPPED: ESPN2’s coverage of the Bassmaster Classic has been nominated to receive another premier cable TV award, as has Mark Zona, host of ESPN2’s World’s Greatest Fishing Show.

The CableFAX Program Awards tapped Zona in the “best actor/actress/host: other” category. He’s up against two big names: Whoopi Goldberg for the FEARnet sci-fi series Stream, and Anthony Bourdain for his Travel Channel program, No Reservations.

In the category “best show or series: sports,” the 2009 Classic show was one of five nominees. Others included YES Network’s Yankeeography and the Travel Channel’s Dhani Tackles the Globe.

CableFAX, which salutes cable’s top shows and people through its annual awards, will reveal the winners at a Sept. 16 luncheon in New York. In April, coverage of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic received a Sports Emmy Nomination in the Outstanding Live Event Turnaround category.

HONOREE: Emily Shaffer of Mount Juliet, Tenn., has been tapped for induction into the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame.

“I’ve known about it and have been excited about it for some time now,” Shaffer said early this week.

Shaffer has competed on the Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour since its inception in late 2005. She was also a top pro in several former women’s fishing organizations. She won the championship the 1995 Bass’n Gal championship and was the organization’s angler of the year in 2002.

Three other WBT pros have been inducted into the Tennessee-based hall of fame: Penny Berryman of Hot Springs, Ark. (2004); Kathy Magers of Waxahachie, Texas (2005); and Pam Martin-Wells of Bainbridge, Ga. (2007).

Past inductees also include BASS founder Ray Scott and Bassmaster Elite Series pros Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Fla., and Paul Elias of Laurel, Miss.

Shaffer and this year’s other six inductees will be honored at a banquet Aug. 22 at the Sheraton Music City in Nashville, Tenn.

A few weeks later, Shaffer plans to be in Hendersonville, Tenn., for the Sept. 10-12 WBT event on Old Hickory Lake. A family illness kept her out of the June competition in Arkansas.

“I’ll be at Old Hickory, for sure,” she said. “I’m going to give it my all. I want to make the championship.”

After Old Hickory, the top 20 pros in the Toyota Tundra WBT Angler of the Year standings will advance to the Academy Sports + Outdoors WBT Championship. It’s scheduled for Oct. 16-18 on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

One WBT pro will emerge from the championship as the sole WBT qualifier for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala.

TOP ROOKIE: Bassmaster Elite Series pro Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., didn’t immediately seize the top-ranking in the Rookie of the Year race in his first Elite season, but he grabbed the lead after the second event of 2009 and hasn’t let go.

Leading all challengers by about 100 points, Herren has a good chance to end up as the top-ranked rookie of 2009.

“Rookie of the Year is a nice thing to have on your resume, but I don’t really consider myself a rookie like some of the others are,” said Herren, who competed in another pro-level circuit before advancing to the Elite Series for the 2009 season.

The 2009 Elite rookies include Billy McCaghren, 35, of Mayflower, Ark., who trails Herren by almost 100 points in the rookie rankings, which uses the same points system as the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.

In terms of the full Elite field, both pros are having strong first years. Herren is in 23rd place in the full-field standings, and McCaghren is 38th, thanks to a third-place finish in early June on the Mississippi River. Both pros could end up in the top 36, which would mean a berth in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala.

But at 23rd and 38th, both probably are out of reach of a top-12 qualification for the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason.

After the Elite season’s final event, the Aug. 13-16 Ramada Champion’s Chase on Oneida Lake out of Syracuse, N.Y., the top 12 in the AOY standings will move on to compete in the two-event Toyota Trucks Championship Week. The first half of the postseason will be the Sept. 12-13 Trophy Chase on Alabama’s Lake Jordan. The finale, the Sept. 17-18 Evans Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph on the Alabama River out of Montgomery, Ala., will be the site of the crowning of the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year with the top prize of $200,000.

SIX CLASSIC AMATEURS: For six BASS Federation Nation anglers, the journey to the 2010 Bassmaster Classic is at the halfway point.

The Southern, Western and Central divisional tournaments are completed. The Eastern, Northern and Mid-Atlantic divisionals will be held through the next three months.

From the divisionals, the top qualifier from each state will advance to the Oct. 25-31 BASS Federation Nation Championship on the Harris Chain of Lakes out of Tavares, Fla. The championship will determine which six Federation Nation anglers earn a Classic spot.

The six amateurs will be part of the 51-angler field for the Feb. 19-21 Classic on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala.

Results of the Southern, Western and Central events are available at Bassmaster.com, as are schedules for the upcoming divisionals.

STRAIGHT OUTTA ZELL: “Those boat owners are some tough anglers, too. There were several 7- and 8-pounders caught. The fish that won the whole thing was a little over 9 pounds.” – Zell Rowland in his June 25 Bassmaster.com blog about the recent Skeeter Owner’s Tournament on Texas’ Lake Fork

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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