RAY SCOTT OUTDOORS, Inc. News Release
HOT SPRINGS, Arkansas - Ray Scott, the Alabama angler, who changed bass fishing from a weekend recreational sport into a big-time tournament game, believes the sport has need for growing pains. A new challenge.
Scott says, "We need to put some excitement back into bass fishing. It's time to put the SPORT back into sportfishing."
Larry D. Helmke, executive director of the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, agrees. "The greater the challenge, the greater the reward. We're excited to announce the addition of a new Ray Scott's Eagles of Angling SPORTACKLE™ Light-Line Tournament to the Hall of Fame's Champions Challenge tournament week, May 19-25, here in Hot Springs," said Helmke.
"This will be a nerve-testing challenge for the
Hall of Fame tournament pros," predicts Helmke. "Only four-pound
test line will be permitted to be fished in the one-day competition."
"And, we're putting in a no-net rule for the SPORTACKLE™ Light-Line competition," added Ray Scott, who will serve as special weighmaster for the Hall of Fame events. "Four-pound line. No nets. It's hand-to-hand combat. Angler against the bass. That's extreme sports for bass anglers. Makes for good television," believes Scott, who launched the bass tournament craze in 1967 at Beaver Lake, Arkansas.
Scott's idea for the All-American Invitational Tournament turned bass fishing into a popular sport, resulting in the organization of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), the 600,000 member worldwide organization.
"Over the past 35 years we've seen bass fishing become the biggest influence in sportfishing," points out Scott. "Creating new tackle and techniques and the evolution of the bass boat. The fact the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is underway says a lot for the interest in bass fishing. But, we can do more to build interest and participation in freshwater fishing," believes Scott.
To that end, Scott and Helmke have enlisted the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) record keepers to develop a state-by-state record scorecard promotion for the four-pound, light-line class for black bass.
"Not every fisherman aspires to be a tournament
pro," said Helmke, "but any bass fisherman would like to be listed
in the IGFA's record book. It so happens that the majority of the listed
four-pound line record in many states is wide-open (vacant) or within easy
Scott says, "I'll bet my cowboy hat right now, we'll see the current Arkansas four-pound line class record broken, May 21 at Lake Ouachita. Chances are the record will be broken more than once."
According to the IGFA's 2002 State Freshwater Line Class Records, a 1-pound, 14-ounce largemouth bass caught by Charles L. Key on April 12, 2001 is the Arkansas mark to beat in the 4-pound line class.
"We're onboard with the SPORTACKLE™ Light-Line Tournament concept and see this as an exciting idea to generate new interest in freshwater fishing," said Don Watts, chief executive officer of the International Game Fishing Association headquartered in Dania Beach, Florida.
"We'll have IGFA officials present for the light-line tournament weigh-in to certify the scales and weight of record application fish and obtain the line samples off the reel to submit for the IGFA's four-pound class line requirements," said Watts.
Scott points out, "Some line manufacturers label line spools as 'four-pound test', but the breaking strength far exceeds that line class. The IGFA tests the line sample's wet-breaking strength to determine the actual line class.
"Any lines exceeding the IGFA ruling will be disallowed, the record application dropped and the next weight application considered," acknowledged Scott.
The SPORTACKLE™ Light-Line Tournament will feature the big bass largemouth state record competition and a total weight champion. The creel limit is five bass, either largemouth or spotted bass. Only artificial lures will be used. There's also a restriction against the use of "shock leaders," or any rigging to exceed the four-pound test line requirement.
The light-line tournament check out and weigh-in will be at the Mountain Harbor Marina on Lake Ouachita.
All pros entered in the Hall of Fame Champions Challenge Tournament, May 22-25, are eligible to compete in the special SPORTACKLE™ Light-Line event said Helmke, who expects over 100 pros and amateurs for the championship. The field competes May 22-23 on Lake Ouachita with the Top 10 pros and amateurs advancing to the Champions Challenge finals, May 25, on Lake Hamilton. The final weigh-in at the Hot Springs Convention Center will begin at 2:30 p.m.
The Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization. Plans are underway to complete a 24 million dollar, 40,000-square foot facility on 24 acres located on Lake Catherine below the Carpenter Dam on Lake Hamilton. Executive director Helmke says the design completion is scheduled for April 16, full fund-raising efforts to follow with an estimated 16 months for construction and the Hall of Fame to open in early 2005.
For information on the Professional Bass Fishing Hall
of Fame or the Champions Challenge events, contact: Larry D. Helmke,
Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, 928 Airport Road, Hot Springs, AR
71913 or Ph (501) 767-2366.