PITTSBURGH In 2006, the newly created Women's Bassmaster Tour will visit lakes in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina and Arkansas, BASS announced. Further, a preview event for the three-day, pro-am series will take place Oct. 20 - 22 this year on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas.
BASS also announced today at a crowded press conference during CITGO Bassmaster Classic week that Triton Boats and Mercury Marine will be major sponsors of the women's tour. A significant portion of both Triton and Mercury's sponsorship includes providing the boater and non-boater winners of each event with a boat and outboard package worth $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.
"We're excited that Triton and Mercury share BASS' vision to grow the sport aggressively yet responsibly," said Don Rucks, general manager of BASS. "We all firmly believe that this tour will provide women with another outlet in which to fish competitively. It's another great way to proactively grow bass fishing."
Entry fees for each Women's Bassmaster tournament are $650 for boaters and $350 for non-boaters. Entry fees for the preview event are $400 for boaters and $200 for non-boaters. An all-cash payout for the preview will be based on the number of anglers who register.
"A considerable payout structure is imperative for our anglers to have a quality experience," said Dean Kessel, BASS vice president of operations.
The events will coincide with the dates and locations of two of next year's CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series events and all three Majors events. The two tours will fish separate but nearby waters and final round weigh-ins will be held on the same stage. Like the Bassmaster Tour, each event will include three days of practice and the field will be cut to the top six anglers on the final day.
The 2005 preview event will be held Oct. 20 -22 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, a perennial BASS favorite. It marks the 30th time that BASS has visited the 114,000-acre impoundment.
On the schedule for 2006 are both BASS mainstays and new waters.
The 2006 Women's Bassmaster Tour kicks off on Toledo Bend Reservoir, March 16-18, in Many, La. the 11th time the lake has been featured in a BASS event.
Next, the women will head to Alabama, former headquarters of BASS, to fish the 11,200-acre Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden, April 20-22.
On May 18-20, the Tour visits Lake Lewisville, right outside of suburban Dallas. Lewisville was the site of a 2005 Bassmaster Elite 50 event in June, and forever will be remembered for producing Kevin VanDam's lake record-breaking 11 pound, 13 ounce largemouth.
Women will begin rounding out the season June 27-29 on Lake Norman in Huntersville, N.C., site of the fifth event of the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series.
For the final event, the WBT will visit Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Ark., Aug. 24-26. Dardanelle has hosted both 2004 and 2005 Elite 50 events.
The Women's Bassmaster Tour championship event will be held in conjunction with the 2007 CITGO Bassmaster Classic. The date and location will be announced at a later date.
There are 34.1 million anglers in America and approximately 26 percent are women, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Additionally, of the 28.4 million freshwater anglers in America, 26 percent are women.
Toledo Bend, Texas: March 16-18
Neeley Henry Lake, Ala.: April 20-22
Lewisville Lake, Texas: May 18-20
Lake Norman, N.C.: July 27-29
Lake Dardanelle, Ark.: Aug. 24-26
2006 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series events, Majors
Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas: March 16-19
Lake Guntersville, Ala.: April 20-23
Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas: May 18-21
Lake Wylie, Texas: July 27-30
Arkansas River, Ark.: Aug. 24-27