BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The six-man Alabama team raised the Iron Fish trophy above their heads as "Roll Tide! Roll Tide! Roll Tide!" rocked through the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
The University of Alabama fishing team and its fans celebrated a win Saturday over the Auburn University fishing team in the inaugural "Iron Bowl of bass fishing," the Bassmaster College Classic on Alabama's Logan Martin Lake. The one-day college-level competition was in conjunction with the 2010 Bassmaster Classic on nearby Lay Lake.
Alabama took the prize — bragging rights only — with a 24-pound, 8-ounce total, topping Auburn's total of 15 pounds, 5 ounces.
The victorious team will defend its title in February 2011 when it meets the LSU fishing team in conjunction with the 2011 Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta out of New Orleans.
The anglers weighed their catches on the Toyota Tundra stage at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods at the BJCC. Hundreds of show goers stopped to watch the weigh-in, cheering each time the anglers showed off a fish. Many supporters wore Alabama or Auburn gear, obviously there just to cheer on their teams.
Auburn senior JT Murphy said if he and his team had landed several fish that broke off, the outcome would have been different.
"We tried our best; we did our best; we gave it everything we had, but it's still disappointing," Murphy said. The two schools will meet again soon, he said, and Auburn will have a chance for redemption.
Brian Morrow, one of two anglers in the Alabama boat that weighed the largest five-fish limit of 10 pounds, 12 ounces, said his team noticed other anglers fishing Logan Martin banks and flats with few bites.
"We targeted a little deeper water around bridges and pylons and used the current to our advantage," Morrow said. "In the first 30 minutes, we had our first two fish, and within the first two hours we had our limit, and upgraded all day long."
Morrow is a senior majoring in operations management. He has an eye on a career as a pro angler.
"Bass fishing is my passion and what I want to do with the rest of my life," he said.
Results: Bassmaster College Classic, Birmingham, Ala., Feb. 20, 2010
Alabama, 24 pounds, 8 ounces
Boat No. 1
David Rogers and Jeremy Christian, 6 pounds, 10 ounces
Boat No. 2
Matt Carter and Brian Morrow, 10 pounds, 12 ounces
Boat No. 3
Ben Weldon and Warren Hoffman, 7 pounds, 2 ounces
Auburn, 15 pounds, 5 ounces
Boat No. 1
Shaye Baker and Andrew Wendt, 3 pounds, 7 ounces
Boat No. 2
Paul Davis and JT Murphy, 3 pounds, 9 ounces
Boat No. 3
Shane Powell and Jordan Lee, 8 pounds, 5 ounces
RAY SCOTT AND BASS HONORED
BASS and its founder, Ray Scott, were honored Saturday by the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame of Hayward, Wis.
Scott was elevated from the hall's legendary angler category to enshrinement, the highest level of recognition for an individual. BASS was tapped to be listed in the hall's organizational achievers.
Tom Ricks, vice president & general manager, BASS, accepted the award for BASS at a presentation at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo, and Scott was on hand to accept his plaque presented by Emmett A. Brown Jr., executive director of the hall.
"We recognize those men, women and organizations that have made significant and lasting contributions to sportfishing," Brown said. "When we think in those terms, who is one of the first people to come to mind? Obviously, Ray Scott. Ray has done so much for bass fishing and sportfishing in general."
Brown praised Scott's accomplishments, especially his promotion of the catch-and-release ethic for sportfishing.
"I appreciate it," Scott said. "I'm proud catch and release has become a way of life. We learned not to waste fish."
Ricks accepted on behalf of the company founded by Scott in 1968.
"I am relatively new to this organization called BASS," Ricks said. "He (Scott) built this company many years ago and continues to be a supporter of the company and the initiatives that we undertake to grow the sport, whether it be tournament fishing or conservation issues."
MADE FOR EACH OTHER
When the new Yamaha four-stroke V MAX SHO was born, the Skeeter FX Series boat was created for it, said Ben Jarrett, national sales and marketing manager for Skeeter Boat Co.
"We came up with the ultimate bass fishing rig," Jarrett said. "We were able to modify a lot of things on the front side to create the ultimate bass fishing package."
With the rigs just now coming off the assembly line, at least two Bassmaster Elite Series pros are waiting to take possession of theirs for the 2010 season. Every one available was brought to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex to serve as Skeeter/Yamaha displays at the 2010 Bassmaster Classic.
Elite pro Zell Rowland's new Skeeter/Yamaha rig is in the center of the weigh-in arena. Clark Reehm's is parked in the center of the Skeeter booth, inside the BJCC at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
After Sunday's final weigh-in, the pros can collect their new rides for the 2010 season. Rowland, of Austin, Texas, and Reehm, of Russellville, Ark., will drive their new rigs from Birmingham, Ala., deliver them to be wrapped, and then head to California for the first two Elite events of the 2010 season, March 11-14 on the California Delta, and March 18-21 on Clear Lake.
Judy Douglas had a hard time singling out a product with the coolest technology on display in the Minn Kota booth at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
"It's tough to narrow down just to one, but for the bass angler, we have a new product called Fortrex," said Douglas, the director of marketing for Minn Kota, a new Bassmaster Classic sponsor. "It's a bow-mount cable-steer motor. We've taken our learnings over the last 10 years and it's the best of the best: the most durable, rugged trolling you're going to need as a bass angler."
She also mentioned the i-Pilot, a device that looks like a TV remote control. It is a GPS-based retrofit accessory for several models of Minn Kota electric-steer motors: Terrova, PowerDrive V2 and Riptide bow-mounts. The i-Pilot carries a suggested retail of $399.
"It ties in GPS technology into the trolling motor and actually operates your trolling motor for you," Douglas said. "There's a Spot-Lock feature, which is like an anchor — you press the button and the motor keeps you in that spot. Record a Track allows you to follow a particular fishing path — you record it once, then push a button to repeat that path. And there's a co-pilot function, a remote to steer your motor, speed up, speed down, turns the prop on and off."
Classic pros with Minn Kota behind them include Matt Herren and Kelly Jordon.
Anglers can check it all out at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex through 4 p.m. Sunday, when the show will close for the Day 3 weigh-in and finale of the 2010 Bassmaster Classic in the arena next door.
BIG GEAR GIVEAWAY
Sister companies and new Bassmaster Classic sponsors Humminbird and Minn Kota (both owned by Johnson Outdoors) will be giving away a Minn Kota Fortrex trolling motor and a Humminbird 798c SI Combo to two lucky winners in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic Gear Giveaway.
Entry slips can be filled out at the Minn Kota and Humminbird booth through 4 p.m. CT Sunday, Feb. 21, at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods. The winners will be selected and notified by e-mail or phone. There's no cost or obligation to put a name in the hat for the drawing.
One of the newest Bassmaster Classic and Elite Series sponsors is Humminbird, a leading marine electronics company that's based in Eufaula, Ala., a city not far from the Birmingham Classic site.
What was bringing Classic Expo visitors into the Humminbird booth?
"I think our side-imaging technology is the biggest thing for bass anglers, said Mark Gibson, senior brand manager for Humminbird. "We're here to show them how our side imaging can help them as an angler, its incredible range and viewability."
Side imaging is available on four Humminbird products, he said, at several price points. Humminbird also has a software that will update existing units, he added.
Ongoing at www.humminbird.com is a contest to win the same side imaging setup as Kevin VanDam, two-time Classic champ and first-day leader at the 2010 Classic. The contest is called "VanDam Your Boat."
The public is invited to attend the Classic in Birmingham and witness the crowning of the 2010 Classic champion, who on Sunday will claim a first-place prize of $500,000 from the total Classic payout of $1.2 million.
Sponsors of the 2010 Bassmaster Classic: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Marine.