World-class bass fishing and hefty paychecks await when the North American Bass Circuit kicks off its inaugural season on Wisconsin’s bass-rich Lake Winnebago Chain on June 11.
The single-day, team-format tournament gives competitors a world of bass fishing options on legendary lakes Winnebago, Poygan, Butte de Morts and Winneconne—along with sections of the fabled Fox and Wolf rivers. When the dust settles at the weigh-in, held in Oshkosh’s scenic Menominee Park, the team with the heaviest bag of up to five bass will walk away with a $10,000 paycheck, (based on 50-boat field) plus sponsor contingencies and ultimate bragging rights as winners of the world’s first NABC event.
Though in its infancy, the new Circuit is already stirring excitement among veteran bass anglers hungering for professionally-run, team-oriented venues. Case in point: When the Circuit launched last winter, Rapala’s Mark Fisher was among the first contenders to throw his hat in the ring. Along with partner Scott Bonnema, the well-known bassman and fishing personality quickly registered for all three qualifiers, and is now busy preparing for the season opener.
“Winnebago is new to me, and I can’t wait to fish it,” says Fisher. “The main-lake options alone for both large- and smallmouths are staggering. Plus there’s the rest of the system—and with a field of 50 boats we’ll be able to spread out and really fish to our strengths like we never could with a 150-boat field.” Weather patterns not withstanding, ‘Bago’s bass will likely be in some form of spawn-oriented phase come tournament time. “Because it’s such a large and diverse system, we’ll probably have fish in all phases of the spawn from pre- to post,” he adds.
Of course, great bass fishing is only part of the NABC’s appeal. There’s a $10,000 first-place paycheck and more than $16,000 in cash up for grabs (based on full field)—along with thousands more in sponsor contingencies from Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats, Detwiler-MarineTech Products, Optima Batteries and U2/The Oxygenator—plus the Big Bass Pot. As an added incentive, the top 10 teams at each of the NABC’s three regular-season tournaments will qualify for the 2011 World Bass Championship. Set for Sept. 24-25 at Leech Lake out of Walker, Minnesota, the Championship offers a $20,000 first-place paycheck.
The NABC is open to all anglers. And its popular team format—which lets you choose your partner and cut your costs—has stood the test of time for 26 tournament seasons on our sister tournament trail, the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC).
Bass are winners in the equation as well. A $15-per-boat donation from each team’s entry fee—made via our Bass Conservation Fund through non-profit affiliate Wildlife Forever—will benefit Department of Natural Resources’ projects to protect local fisheries. Since 1984, the MWC’s Conservation Fund has donated more than $275,000 to fisheries-enhancement projects in states where our tournaments are held—and the Bass Conservation Fund is proudly following this historic tradition for fisheries conservation.
Registration is now under way, and costs $400 per team, per NABC qualifying tournament. Teams may register by mail, fax, or online. Full details and printable registration forms are available at northamericanbasscircuit.com. Or call toll-free (877) 893-7947, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone interested in joining the fun and competing at Oshkosh should keep in mind that a $50 late fee kicks in May 23 and registration closes June 6.
This is the first stop on the NABC’s 2011 season. The remaining tournaments are July 30-31 at Bays de Noc, Michigan, and August 19 at Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota. The North American Bass Circuit’s title sponsors include Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats and the North American Fishing Club. Supporting sponsors include Mercury Marine, Rapala, Sufix, Trigger X, Detwiler-MarineTech Products, Wave Fishing, O2 Marine Technologies and Optima Batteries.
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