BASS Unveils Women's Bass Fishing Tour
Celebration, Fla. - BASS announced today the creation of the Women's Bassmaster Tour, a five-event series debuting in 2006 - following a preview event planned for October 2005 - and culminating in the Women's Bassmaster Championship in February of 2007.
"We believe that the Women's Bassmaster Tour will provide a superior outlet for the many women anglers who dream of fishing competitively," said Don Rucks, general manager of BASS. "As we continue to encourage women anglers in our other events, the WBT represents an important step in our efforts to grow the sport of bass fishing."
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.
ESPN and BASS say they are dedicated to serving this market and seek to proactively grow it.
"ESPN is a leader in the women's sports arena," said Christine Godleski, vice president and general manager of ESPN Outdoors. "Today, we are bringing the BASS standards and prestige to women's bass fishing to grow the sport. ESPN proudly continues to enhance our leadership and commitment to women's sports."
WBT events will coincide with the dates and locations of five of next year's Bassmaster Tour events. The two tours will fish separate but nearby waters. Final round weigh-ins on the WBT will be held on the same stage as Bassmaster Tour events.
Like the Bassmaster Tour, the WBT will feature a pro-am format. Anglers will be randomly paired and boaters will compete against boaters while non-boaters will compete against non-boaters.
WBT events will span three days - Thursdays through Saturdays. The full field will fish during the first two rounds of competition. After Day Two, the field will be cut to the top six anglers.
In 2007, the inaugural Women's Bassmaster Championship will be held at the same time and in the same general location as the Bassmaster Classic. Competitors from both circuits will fish different waters following a format similar to regular Tour events. A total of 12 anglers will qualify for the Women's Bassmaster Championship based on their Tour performance. As an added bonus, the Women's Bassmaster Championship weigh-ins will take place at the same venue as those for the Bassmaster Classic.
More details, including tournament locations and prize structure for the preview event and the 2006 Tour schedule, will be revealed at a news conference during Bassmaster Classic week this summer in Pittsburgh, Pa.