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Collegiate Bass Championship Will Break Down Barriers and Set Records
BoatUS press release
If the activities surrounding the 2012 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship were limited just to the tournament itself, it would still be the biggest event the genre has ever seen. The Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) will welcome two hundred teams, hailing from 29 states, from large institutions and small ones, to battle it out on Pickwick Lake for bragging rights. It promises to be a slugfest, too - after living in the shadow of its sister, Lake Guntersville, for years, Pickwick may be the hottest lake in the southeast right now, consistently pushing out double-digit bass and limits that easily exceed 20 pounds.

However, this isn't just a tournament - it's an event to be reckoned with.

These students will be treated like kings - and queens, since there are more than a few female competitors - from the time they arrive in Florence, Alabama for the festivities. In fact, the largesse will begin before they even leave campus. It's a no-entry fee event, with lots of sponsor goodies, and even a hundred dollar travel stipend. On top of that, there's over $120,000 in combined prizes available in the form of cash, services and merchandise.

The actual competition days won't begin until Thursday May 24th, but once these young men and women arrive they'll be treated as if they'd qualified for any other prestigious fishing championship. Tuesday the 22nd will be Yamaha Angler Appreciation Night at McFarland Park. Students will be treated to dinner, mingle with pros including Ish Monroe and Takahiro Omori, and have time to take Ranger/Yamaha demo rides and get help from the respective service crews.

On Wednesday, registration will begin with a sponsor reception hosted by 20 very involved corporate entities. Dinner will be provided by NBC Sports Outdoors, the ACA television partner, and will feature a keynote address by reigning Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Martin.

On the two competition days, the anglers will be provided with breakfast and lunch, courtesy of the ACA. At the end of the day on Thursday there will be a cookout donated by Costa Del Mar, as well as a guest appearance by Costa Pro, Casey Ashley. Friday's dinner will come from the ACA. If anyone goes hungry next week, they have no excuse.

In addition to the pros listed above, many other national touring pros will be on hand to offer advice and encouragement, including Jeff Kriet, Mike McClelland, Brandon Card, Clark Wendlandt and Jeff Reynolds.

Even if you can't come to Florence yourself, there's an opportunity for unparalleled virtual participation, because in addition to setting records for overall participation and the depth and diversity of the field, this tournament will have a media presence unlike any other college fishing event to date. It will include a "From the Water Blog," powered by HydroWave, which will start to transmit on Monday and reach a fevered pitch on the competition days. Daily photo galleries from the cameras of professional photographers will be posted on Facebook and the ACA website. Weigh-ins will be streamed live, thanks to the support of The Bass Federation.

"With photos, regular updates from the water, and a live weigh-in, we're getting the fans as close to Florence, Alabama as we possibly can," said Tournament Director Wade Middleton.

But that's not all - the tournament coverage will be too comprehensive to confine it to a single television show, so NBC Sports Outdoors will divide it into two 30 minute episodes. They'll be broadcast nationally as part of the ACA's superior television coverage of collegiate angling.

Even if your college years are far in the rearview mirror, the multiple means of following this event in real time and afterward will allow you to say that you saw tomorrow's fishing stars before they hit it big. Don't miss your opportunity to witness history in the making.