CELEBRATION, Fla. The green and blue colors of Hot Springs, Ark., will be highly visible this year on the new CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series trail, thanks to a business relationship pairing a veteran pro BASS angler and the city that bills itself as "America's First Resort."
Hot Springs resident and CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike Wurm will fly the colors of his hometown on his boat wrap as he competes this year sponsored by the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. Wurm will first compete in the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26, on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla., before turning his attention to the 11 Elite Series events. The inaugural event is the "Battle on the Border" at Lake Amistad in Del Rio, Texas, March 9-12.
Wurm, 53, has competed on the BASS tournament trail since 1992 and is looking forward to the higher level of competition. The series will tour America with a field of 110 anglers competing for more than $11 million in prize money, including payouts from the Bassmaster Majors and CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year program. The Elite Series also will have increased media exposure with telecasts on ESPN2, as well as print and electronic media coverage.
"It's going to be an exciting year," said Wurm, a nine-time Classic qualifier. "I do think the Elite Series is a step in the right direction. BASS is putting a lot of effort and thought to get the sport where it belongs. They are working with the fishermen better than they ever have, and it's going to be an honor to be in the Elite Series. I want BASS to succeed because if they have success, I have success."
Wurm scored a BASS tournament win in 1997 in the Georgia Top 100 and is known as an angler who is always competitive. He's ranked 37th on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index, averaging 16 pounds, 14 ounces each tournament. "I try to fish consistently and always get that limit, not necessarily the biggest fish," he said. "If I'm consistent, then I'm going to earn a nice living, and attract sponsors. I'm right there knocking on the door all the time and I'm a threat."
In addition to the Hot Springs Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Wurm has backing from Ranger Boats, Evinrude motors, Strike King lures, Quantum, TruTungsten, Garmin, Minn-Kota and Tim Parker Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep.
"We couldn't think of a more appropriate way to help spread the word about Hot Springs' reputation as a fishing destination than by having a true fishing legend like Mike Wurm represent the city in at least 20 professional tournaments in 15 states during 2006," said Steve Arrison, executive director of the Hot Springs CVB. "Mike is from Hot Springs and is known throughout America as one of the true gentlemen on the professional bass fishing circuits in which he participates."
Wurm is equally as excited. "The wrap really looks good," he said. "It really pops and you definitely know it's from Hot Springs. I'm looking forward to being out there representing Hot Springs."