WHAT IS THE ALABAMA B.A.S.S. NATION, INC.?
BASS ANGLERS SPORTSMAN SOCIETY
It all started in 1967 when Ray Scott started the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. During the past 30 plus years, B.A.S.S. has grown to be the major bass angler sport organization in the world. One in every 150 U. S. households includes a B.A.S.S. member. One in every 400 Americans is a B.A.S.S. member and bass anglers are found in every state - even Alaska; the only state that has no black bass. B.A.S.S. has over 600,000 members and more than 4 million BASSMASTER magazine readers. B.A.S.S. Times, B.A.S.S., Inc's monthly newspaper has a circulation of more than 75,000 with readership of more than 245,000.
The B.A.S.S. Nation is an outgrowth of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. For more than 30 years, the B.A.S.S. Nation has been more than a name. It has become a world community united by a sense of camaraderie and a spirit of belonging to something unique that carries from generation to generation. As the landscape of this great sport has changed, over the years, members have decided to join the B.A.S.S. Nation for many reasons other than exciting tournament fishing. The vision of true pioneers in our history - Ray Scott and Don Butler and many others - established conservation and a focus on building youth programs in addition to fishing competition as areas critical to the viability of the sport and our lifestyle. B.A.S.S. Nation Members, as well as B.A.S.S. employees and sponsors, have given tirelessly to the sport and the vision of these pioneers.
ALABAMA B.A.S.S. NATION, INC.
The Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt umbrella organization for affiliated bass clubs in the state, and is one of the fifty-one state and international chapters that make up the amateur arm of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. The B.A.S.S. National Nation has over 50,000 members in the United States, Japan, South Africa, Italy, Canada and Zimbabwe. Alabama is one of the largest state Nations, with over 40 affiliated bass clubs and 1,000 members. Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation members are grass roots anglers dedicated to the future of bass fishing. We promote "catch and release" and are very protective of the natural resources of our state and sport. Through our affiliation with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, we can bring tremendous resources to bear on promotional issues and focus to the goals of the Nation.
A PARTNER IN CONSERVATION
The Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation has a nationally recognized Conservation Director who sits on many boards and advisory committees - both state and federal - for input, recommendations, and to keep our membership on the cutting edge of conservation issues. He guides, directs, and assists our Chapter Clubs in various projects such as water quality, availability, and is an active voice in state initiatives relative to water sharing with Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. The B.A.S.S. Nation lobbies for safe boating laws which have lowered boating fatalities and we partner with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to promote conservation and enhancement of our state's fishing resources. We promote fishing initiatives throughout the communities of our state through Chapter Clubs, conduct habitat and lake enhancement projects, and lake/river clean-up campaigns.
Conservation initiatives remain an important aspect of the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation and through our affiliation with the National B.A.S.S. Nation and the Federation Nation Stewardship Program linked to the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and "More Fish" Initiative - each of our state Federations have access to a $1,000 B.A.S.S. endowment for fish habitat work as well as providing discounts for sponsor habitat structures. There is also the B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation College Scholarship Program which includes: One (1) four-year scholarship of $2,000 each year to the Nation Division for undergraduate fisheries/biology studies - a total of 6 scholarships annually; and one (1) two-year scholarship of $5,000 per year awarded nationally for graduate fisheries/biology studies.
Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation Chapter Clubs perform hundreds of hours of community service and raise thousands of dollars for charitable causes in their communities such as breast cancer research, crippled children, diabetes, and many other charities.
The Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation understands the important role that youth plays in the continued growth and preservation of bass fishing - and also the important role we, as anglers, can provide in enhancing youngsters appreciation of the great outdoors and what our state has to offer in the way of fishing recreational activities. We take seriously the duty and responsibility we have in helping to build leadership capabilities in our youth and the integrity that will serve them well in later life.
The Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation has a Youth Director that is dedicated to providing the youth of our state with the opportunity to become involved, at an early age, in fishing enjoyment through our Chapter Clubs. In this regard, we sponsor and support two primary programs for our youth:
CastingKids: Established in 1991, CastingKids has partnered with some of America's largest corporations to provide the opportunity for our youth to have some fun with an element of fishing.
CastingKids competition is fun, easy and creates an encouraging atmosphere for the kids. Open to youngsters in two age groups, 7-10 and 11-14, the event tests the basic elements for successful bass fishing - flipping, pitching and casting. Scoring is base on a points system, so the young angler with the most points in each group wins. Kids compete on the local level, state level, semi-finals, and the World CastingKids Championship which is held during the Bassmaster Classic. The CastingKids program also offers rewards at the local and state levels in order to reward and motivate all young competitive anglers. Winners of local, state, regional, and national competitions can win medals, plaques, rods and reels, tackle boxes, and much more. At the Bassmaster Classic, the 12 national finalists, six from each age group, competes for a total of $21,000 in scholarships.
Junior Bassmaster Chapter: Junior Bassmaster Chapters are established by adult Chapter Clubs to get youngsters under the age of 17 interested and involved in learning bass fishing tactics - and provide a competitive environment for testing skills learned in club meetings and on the water. Junior Bassmaster Chapters foster leadership, problem solving and public speaking skills, promote environmental awareness and responsibility, as well as teach kids the fun of fishing. Local Junior Bassmaster Club fishing tournaments are held, qualified winners advance to the State Championship, the Regional Championship, and the World Championship where winners are awarded their own bass boats and scholarships.
THE ROAD TO THE CLASSIC STARTS HERE - NATION TOURNAMENT FISHING
Rising through the ranks of the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation to compete in bass fishing's most prestigious tournament (the Bassmaster Classic) takes dedication and perseverance, but the rewards for advancing to the next level are great. In the 2007 Bassmaster Classic, six Nation anglers competed and one took 4th place overall in the event. Nine anglers with Alabama roots competed in the Classic which was won by a HOME TOWN angler, Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, who walked away with a $502,000 check.
Anglers qualify through their local Chapter Clubs to fish in the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation Regional Tournaments (4 scheduled tournaments per year). Qualified winners from the four regional tournaments are eligible to fish in the ABN State Championship Tournament. The State Championship Tournament qualifies a 14-person team plus two alternates to fish in the B.A.S.S. Nation Divisional Tournament. There are (6) Nation Divisions. The divisional is a 14-person "team" tournament. Prizes are awarded to teams only. The highest finishing person from each team will qualify for the B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship. Currently, 47 B.A.S.S. state nations and 6 BASS foreign nations, compete within one of the 6 (six) divisions to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. The highest finishing angler within each of the (6) divisions earn a birth into the Bassmaster Classic. In 2007, the Nation National Championship payout was $100,000. An additional $45,000 worth of entry fees for the six Nation Classic qualifiers were provided for use for entry into the Bassmaster Northern or Southern Tour. At the 2007 Bassmaster Classic, Terry McWilliams walked away with another $30,000 for 4th Place and each of the other (5) Nation contenders were awarded $10,000 in prize money.
THE ECONOMICS OF BASS TOURNAMENTS
Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation Tournaments draw fishermen from all over Alabama. Not only do these anglers fish in scheduled tournaments, they spend days on the water prior to the event "pre-fishing" and then come in prior to the tournament date for additional "practice days". They bring their family with them to enjoy local attractions, go shopping, and attend the tournament weigh-ins. Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation Tournaments are a catalyst for the expenditure of funds in the local economy such as lodging, meals, fuel, shopping items, tackle sales, and much more. These expenditures provide a "multiplier effect" which results in thousands of dollars to the city or area where such tournaments are staged and increases tax bases substantially. See the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation Economic Impact Statement and Fact Sheet.