The ever-improving quality of the smallmouth bass fishery in the St. Lawrence River has expanded Northern New Yorks place on the national professional tournament map.
It was announced recently that the Bassmaster Elite Northern Division Series would come to St. Lawrence County next summer. It was first announced that the St. Lawrence River Showdown would staged out of Ogdensburg but BASS has since designated Waddington as the headquarters.
Plans are also in motion to establish a New York State Division of the National Bass Anglers Association with the big river as a focal point.
Ogdensburg Bassmaster Larry Ewart been named the director of the division which will stage its state first trail in St. Lawrence and Jefferson County waters.
I really dont know how they got my name but I received an e-mail from Jack Horner of the NBAA saying they were interested in starting a tournament division in New York and asking me if I was interested in getting it started, says Ewart.
We are going to hold the first season in St. Lawrence and Jefferson County and hopefuly expand it in future. New York has such a great fishery and eventually I would like to see a trail including Lake Erie, Lake Champlain and Oneida Lake.
The NBAA was founded in Michigan in 2009 and has expanded throughout the midwest down to Texas. In its short history, it has attracted sponsorship from some of the most prestigious names in the fishing industry such as: Nitro Boats, BassPro Shops, Minn-Kota, Mercury Motors, Power Pole and Humming Bird Electronics.
The NBAA offers unique opportunites for anglers and several ways for anglers to advance to divisional and even national competition.
At this years nationals state at Lake Clair, Mich. anglers fished for $50,000.
One of the unique offerings of the NBAA is the Overtime Series which is designed for anglers who find it difficult to fish on the weekends.
Overtime Series tournaments are staged from 5-9 p.m. and the NBAA also features the traditonal weekend tournaments. The 2013 New York State Division will feature 12 Overtime tournaments and five Weekend Challenge tournaments where anglers fish from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All of the tournaments use the two-angler team format. The entry fee for Weekend Challenge tournaments is $100 which includes a lunker pot of $5 and the entry fee for the Overtime Series tournaments is $42 which includes the $5 lunker pot.
Membership in the NBAA is $35 a year and allowes an angler to fish at NBAA tournaments anywhere in the country.
The NBAA makes it very easy to advance to the national level and entry fees are relatively low. Anyone who fishes at 10 of our 12 overtime tournaments automatically qualifies. Information on the New York Division should be posted on the NBAA webste (www.nbaa-.co) after the first of the year. said Ewart. Our division will offer national points so hopefully it will bring anglers from other parts of the country. If eveything goes as planned this should be a boost for our local economy.
Ewart and Co-Director Rick Conger put together the first division schedule to avoid any conflicts with tournaments of the other trails using area waters.
WEEKEND CHALLENGE SERIES (6:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.): June 22 - St. Lawrence River (Ogdensburg), July 13 - Black Lake (State Ramp), July 27 - Chaumont Bay (Chaumont), Aug 24 - Lake Bonapart (State Ramp), Sept 14 - Mad Dog Memorial Invitational St. Lawrence River (Waddington).
OVERTIME SERIES(5-9 p.m.): June 19 - Black Lake (state ramp), June 26 - St. Lawrence River (Ogdensburg), July 2 - St. Lawrence River (Waddington), July 10 : Butterfield Lake, July 17 - Black Lake, July 24 - St. Lawrence River (Ogdensburg), July 31 - St. Lawrence River (Waddington), Aug 7 - Butterfield Lake, Aug. 14 - Black Lake, Aug. 21 -: St. Lawrence River (Waddington), Aug. 28 - St. Lawrence River (Ogdensburg), Sept 4 - Butterfield Lake (4:30-8:30 p.m.)
DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP: Sept 8: St. Lawrence River (Ogdensburg 6:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
CASTING OFF: Anyone seeking membership information on the NBAA or wishing to become a sponsor for the New York State Division trail should contact Ewart at 713-4028. Sponsors of the NYS Division events will also be posted on the national NBAA webstie.....Information is also available on the National Bass Anglers Association website www.nbaa-bass.com.