PLATTSBURGH -- The Bassmaster Elite Series will not be back in Plattsburgh next year.

Keith Alan, tournament emcee, let the fish out of the bag during Friday's weigh-in, catching some by surprise, but not Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak and Rick Perry, local tournament director.

"Some weeks ago, I was informed that they (Bassmaster Elite Series) won't be returning next year," Kasprzak confirmed. "Naturally, I was very disappointed, but I'm very confident they will be back in 2009. And we will work very hard to ensure the tournament returns.

"I felt they did leave the door open to 2009, which will be The Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial. It would be nice to tie it (the Bassmaster event) with (the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's discovery of the lake bearing his name)."

It means Plattsburgh will be without a top-level bass tournament for 2008. The FLW Tour, which is comparable to the Bassmaster Elite Series, released its seven-event schedule for next year this week and Plattsburgh did not make the cut.

Still, Perry, believes the area will "have a very strong schedule" in 2008.

"I have a good idea (on the 2008 schedule), but I can't say specifically at this time which tournaments will be here."

Perry, who has been involved with luring fishing tournaments to the Plattsburgh area longer than anyone, was not surprised that Bassmaster Elite Series wouldn't be back next year.

"They don't typically go back to the same location three years in a row and because we've hosted a Bassmaster Elite Series event the past two years, I kind of knew they wouldn't be here in 2008.

"But they have offered us a World qualifier and there are only six sites throughout the United States that will get one of those tournament."

Perry has seen the competition for events become more intense each year.

"With the Bassmaster Elite Series, you're going against 25 states for 11 events and each state has a number of sites interested in hosting a tournament," Perry pointed out.

"We have been given strong indication that they will be back in the future. The increased attendance and local involvement for this year's tournament have impressed tournament officials."

Host sites must pay a $25,000 fee and provide other amenities, such as complimentary rooms and a registration banquet.

Of course, Lake Champlain with its tremendous fishery is a huge asset.

"Lake Champlain has an abundance of bass in the 4- to 5-pound range, which can make for a competitive tournament," Perry added. "The pros like to come here because they always feel as if they have a chance."

From a local standpoint, Perry says variables like how many people a tournament draws, how long they practice and television exposure matters to the host site. He noted that an estimated 9 million people will be watching on ESPN-TV next weekend when the Champion's Choice tournament on Lake Champlain is aired.

In turn, tournaments and their spwonsors also are looking to maximize exposure.

"We lost an FLW event to Detroit," Perry said. "It's pretty tough for Plattsburgh to go against Detroit."

Trending Video

Recommended for you