Deion Sanders Knows Bass Fishing Too

The 2003 Bassmaster Classic


NEW ORLEANS - Organizers of a tournament whose proceeds go to fight cancer had the chance to spread the word to recreational anglers and pros alike Saturday at the 2003 Bassmaster Classic.

   Tim Hemphill, executive director of Florida's Kissimmee-St. Cloud Convention and Visitors Bureau announced Saturday that money raised at this year's Angling Against Cancer Benefit Dinner and Bass Tournament would go to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

   The V Foundation was started in 1993 by ESPN and Jim Valvano, a college basketball coach and commentator who lost his battle to cancer 10 years ago.

   The Angling Against Cancer event begins with a benefit dinner and auction Nov. 1. On Nov. 2, corporate sponsors will team up with pro anglers for a day of bass fishing on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes of Lakes is Kissimmee-St. Cloud area.

   For more information on participating in the Angling Against Cancer events, call the Kissimmee-St. Cloud Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 831-1844.

   In addition the tournament, Hemphill announced that packages of Heddon fishing lures named Lure for a Cure will soon be available at retailers throughout the country. A portion of the $12.95 retail price for the three-lure packs also goes to the V Foundation.

   Pro anglers Tim Horton, Terry Seagraves and Sam Swett designed the lures.


Almost any sports fan is familiar with Deion Sander's ability on football and baseball fields.

   The two-sport star is also quite a bass angler. Sanders, who begins his first season as host of The New American Sportsman on ESPN Sept. 8, did a little bass fishing Saturday at Bayou Segnette State Park near New Orleans Saturday while attending the Classic.

   Sanders caught a 4-pound bass within minutes after he began fishing. All 61 anglers competing in the Classic had driven past Sanders' fishing hole en route to Venice, Bayou Black and other distant locations. The area where Sanders caught the largemouth is off-limits to competitors in the world championship of pro bass fishing, a rule that caused Sanders to commiserate with the pros.

   "All these guys are running two or three hours to go fishing but I caught a 4-pounder and had barely left the dock," Sanders said, later adding that he hopes to fish with the pros, beginning with California angler Ish Monroe.

   Sanders has been fishing since he was 7. He has a 10-acre pond that is stocked with bass behind his home in a Dallas suburb.

   "I love fishing. I go fishing every chance I get," he said.

   Sanders, who recently caught a 9-pound largemouth bass while fishing in Mexico, now has his sights set on catching a peacock bass. He hopes to go fishing for the hard-fighting peacock bass this fall.


A flotilla of boats, two helicopters, and 80 people are being used to produce television broadcasts of the Classic.

   Television crews are using 10 camera boats to follow anglers around the Louisiana Delta and four boats to shuttle videotapes from the fishing holes back to New Orleans to prepare them for broadcast. One helicopter is being used for aerial shots of anglers and another for shuttling videotape from distant fishing holes.

   Camera crews are able to keep track of anglers with GPS units connected to satellite telephones that relay their location back to the television crew throughout the day. Observers in the fishing boats record the size and number of bass being caught into personal digital assistants that are also connected to the satellite telephones.

   Sunday's broadcast of the Classic begins at 6 p.m. EDT on ESPN2


Among the equipment the 61 anglers competing in the Classic have in their boat is a tool that would be as much at home on the battlefield as it is in a tackle box.

   Each of the anglers received a Gerber Legendary Blades multi-tool to use during the Classic that ends Sunday. The folding multi-tools include knife blades, pliers, screwdrivers and other equipment that comes in handy for the anglers while they are fishing.

   The multi-tools are similar to models being used by U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq, said Mark Schindel, Marketing Services Manager for Oregon-based Gerber Legendary Blades.

   Gerber produces a variety of knives, tools, folding saws and shovels, gear bags and other equipment for military, police, outdoor recreation and commercial applications.

   Some of its products, such as land mine probes and weapons cleaning kits, are produced for military use only.

   He said the 64-year-old company is expanding its presence in the outdoor recreation field for use by anglers, hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts.

   Four of the anglers competing in the Classic, Mark Davis, Davy Hite, Tim Horton and Mark Menendez, are members of the Gerber Pro Staff.


Joel St. Germain will have quite a fish story to tell when he returns Tuesday to the optical filter company where he works.

   St. Germain, of Cumberland, R.I., will be able to tell his co-workers about what it was like to compete in the Classic.

   He was one of five amateur anglers who qualified for the world championship of bass fishing through the BASS Federation tournament trail. The top angler from each of the five divisions in the Federation at the organization's national championship moves on to the Classic.

   Most Federation anglers work full time and fish during the weekend.

   "I'm going to be telling everyone at work how much fun I had competing in the Classic. This is the ultimate bass tournament in the world," he said.

   St. Germain is international sales manager for a Rhode Island company that produces optical filters for lasers used in the medical community.

   He said his co-workers and boss have been very supportive of his participation in the Classic. His boss even gave him an additional two weeks off for the tournament.

   "I was a little uneasy about asking for extra time off," he said "But they said, 'No problem at all; you do what you need to do. Life is too short to not go out there and enjoy yourself.'"

   St. Germain took the advice of his friends at work. "I have had a blast."