Outdoor Briefs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2001


Bassmaster Classic offers fun for free There is only one world championship event I know of that offers free admission. And it will be right here in the New Orleans area Wednesday through Saturday n the Bassmaster Classic. Forty-five of the world’s best bass fishermen will converge on south Louisiana’s immense fishery to determine a champion for 2001. It’s pro fishing’s answer to the Super Bowl and the World Series but with a genuine twist. Instead of putting its stars and legends on a pedestal, fishing fans especially young ones, are encouraged to meet their heroes, ask for fishing tips, take photos, get autographs and actually be part of the event. Can you imagine, sitting in the dugout or on the bench with professional athletes? Or getting out on the field to punt, pass or kick. Of course that’s not possible but in the Classic spectators can follow the contestants on the water and are invited to mingle with them during the weigh-ins. Since pro fishing requires extreme concentration there are however, some courtesies that fans should extend to contestants. On the water keep your distance and watch with binoculars. Don’t attempt to talk to a pro unless he talks to you first, don’t fish anywhere in the vicinity and be sure not to create any wakes or make noise that might cost then angler a fish. And never, never, ask a pro to hold up his catch for a photo. If the fish should make a sudden flip and escape, it could be the difference in standings and prize money. Besides, chances are pretty good he wouldn’t do it anyway. At the weigh-in there will be off-limits areas as well as areas where the pros welcome spectators to approach them and ask questions. Besides the competition, there’s a special day set aside for kids. There’s also an on-going gigantic boat and fishing tackle exhibition. Many families actually plan their vacations around Classic dates and follow it across the Southeast. Here’s the rundown of next week’s events to help you plan your schedule.

AUG. 1

At Lafreniere Park located off Veterans Blvd in Metairie, kids are invited to meet the pros for an autograph session from 8-11 a.m. From 9 a.m. until noon is the Kid’s Classic where volunteers teach youngsters the techniques of casting, flipping and pitching. Once they’ve learned how to use these skills, they can compete next year for major prizes and scholarships in local, state, regional and national competitions. Each child receives a T-shirt and a bag full of fishing goodies. Refreshments will be available, sunscreen, sunglasses and light, loose-fitting clothing should be worn.

AUG. 2

The doors to the Outdoors Show in the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. The first day of competition begins at daylight at Bayou Segnette State Park on Lapalco Boulevard in Marrero. The pre-weigh-in show begins at 2:40 p.m. followed by the weigh-in at 3 p.m. at the Convention Center.

AUG. 3

The Outdoors Show at the Convention Center will open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. The finals of the National Casting Kids will be held at the center at 1 p.m. The Day 2 weigh-in will be at 3 p.m. following the 2:40 p.m. pre-weigh-in show.

AUG. 4

This is the Grand Finale day. The Outdoors Show at the Convention Center will open at 9 a.m. and will close during the weigh-in at 2:30 p.m. It will reopen from 7-10 p.m. The Superdome will be the site of the 3 p.m. pre-weigh-in show featuring a laser light and fireworks show and a live performance by Grammy Award-winner Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers. Immediately following will be the Day 3 weigh-in and presentation of the championship trophy. Finally from all entrants registered at the Outdoors Show drawings will be made for the winner of a Classic Boat and someone will get a shot at the “Cast of a Lifetime” to win $1 million. DON DUBUC is the outdoors reporter for L’Observateur.