B.A.S.S. Nation welcomes Portugal

Photo courtesy of Portugal B.A.S.S. Nation
Anglers in Portugal can now consider competing in the Bassmaster Classic an achievable goal. As members of a new B.A.S.S. Nation chapter, they can now qualify to compete in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship and advance from there to the Classic.

LISBON, Portugal — Portugal is the third European country to join the international brotherhood of B.A.S.S.

Portugal has met the 100-member requirement set for international countries to join B.A.S.S. and has been accepted as the newest B.A.S.S. Nation.

“Several countries have been working on it, and the last three — Portugal, Australia and Namibia — have all gotten the 100-member requirement,” said Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Nation director.

“Portugal has been working on this for a couple of years, getting clubs started and gathering members.”

The other European B.A.S.S. Nations are Italy and Spain.

Jose Moreira, Portugal B.A.S.S. Nation president, reported that his country has 190 B.A.S.S. members and 21 clubs. Fellow Portugal B.A.S.S. Nation officers include Ramon Menezes, vice president; Andre Fidalgo, secretary; Paulo Pinto, boat tournaments director; and David Ala, inshore tournament director.

“A lot of people have helped this become possible,” said Moreira, “but I am especially thankful to Ramon Vaz Menezes, Andre Fidalgo, Paul Pinto and David Ala because they have been the most active persons in the last year to promote B.A.S.S. in our country.”

The Portugal B.A.S.S. Nation plans to hold two weekend boat tournaments at Alqueva Lake and Cabril Dam. Moreira said the tournaments will determine Portugal’s national champion and qualifier for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. Moreira estimates 65 of the Portugal Nation members own bass boats.

Because many of Portugal’s bass anglers start out fishing from the bank, Portugal is also organizing three weekend inshore tournaments. Moreira said these tournaments are being set up to promote B.A.S.S. and the catch-and-release ethic in his country, but they do not serve as qualifiers for Portugal’s berth in the BNC.

Largemouth bass were introduced in Portugal in 1898 in Seven City Lagoon in the Atlantic islands of the Azores, according to Moreira. Bass from a French pisciculture (fish farm) at Clouzioux were stocked in mainland Portugal in 1952. Moreira rates Alqueva Lake (the largest man-made reservoir in Europe) and Santa Clara Lake as the best bass fishing waters in his country.

“We have the biggest bass record in Europe,” claimed Moreira. “It was caught in Santa Clara Lake a few years ago and weighed 4.7 kilos [10.36 pounds].”

The winning weights for tournaments held at Alqueva average about 11 to 12 kilos (24.25 to 26.46 pounds) while the winning weights for Santa Clara are usually around 7 to 8 kilos (15.43 to 17.64 pounds).

Portugal’s bass fishing season runs from May 16 to March 15.

“Bass fishing is the largest freshwater fishing activity that we have in Portugal,” Moreira said. He noted the country holds a national bass fishing championship every year and some other private tournaments that usually draw 40 to 45 boats.

Moreira lists spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, crankbaits and Texas rigged soft plastics as the most popular lures among Portuguese bass anglers. Drop shotting is the most effective way to catch bass in Portugal in winter.

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