Toyota Texas Bass Classic fishing tournament announced for Lake Fork
Country singer Clay Walker to headline entertainment
From Staff Reports

Aug. 23, 2006 –- A $1 million professional bass tournament will be held next spring at Lake Fork in East Texas, observing the restrictive slot limits of the famed Texas bass lake. This will be the first professional tournament of its kind ever held at Lake Fork. 

The event will benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TP&WD) and its outdoor recreation programs.

Planned as an annual event, the inaugural Toyota Texas Bass Classic will kick off April 9 and continue through April 15. The one-of-a-kind tournament was conceived by TP&WD Commissioners Dan Friedkin and Donato Ramos and is being developed by the Texas Bass Classic Foundation. It will be sanctioned by the Professional Anglers Association (PAA), and Toyota has signed on as the title sponsor.

Clay Walker will be the headline entertainer for the event, with multiple supporting acts performing throughout the tournament week, leading up to the Clay Walker performance on Sunday, April 15. 

“The purpose of this tournament is two-fold,” Friedkin said. “It will showcase the great bass fishing that Texas offers and raise funds to support the TPWD mission of increasing access to the outdoors and developing outdoor youth opportunities. By staging this event at Texas’ legendary bass lake, we are also making a statement about the feasibility of a professional slot-limit tournament. We’ll call on technology to make this competition possible.”

Through an agreement with the Texas Bass Classic Foundation, the TPW Inland Fisheries Division will provide technical assistance and support, while the over 200-member PAA will oversee rules, officials, entry qualifications and adherence to TPW regulations. The tournament will be limited to professional anglers with around 160 fishing as teams over three days. Unlike most professional bass tournaments, contestants will not be required to pay an entry fee.

The Toyota Texas Bass Classic will have an official observer assigned to each competitor’s boat who will measure and record each fish caught. The fish will be assigned point values for tabulation. After measurement, the fish will be returned to the lake immediately in observance of Lake Fork’s slot limit restrictions. This avoids having fish held in live wells for long periods of time before weighing at stations and will set precedence on how fish are to be handled in future professional bass tournaments.

Other major sponsors are expected to join Toyota in supporting the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. Professional event management and broadcast experts have been hired to implement the event. Plans include entertainment for local families, as well as visitors for the tournament.

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