B.A.S.S., Sealy Outdoors to partner

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Two of the oldest and most prominent bass tournament organizations — B.A.S.S. and Sealy Outdoors — have signed a joint agreement to market and promote the popular Big Bass Splash series of events.

Under the agreement, Sealy’s big-bass tournaments beginning in 2013 will be named the “Big Bass Splash Presented by Sealy Outdoors and B.A.S.S.” In addition, Big Bass Splash weigh-ins will be streamed live on Bassmaster.com, and the events will be covered in B.A.S.S. media. See photos from past Big Bass Splash events.

Founded in 1984 by Texas angler Bob Sealy, the organization conducts five tournaments a year, attracting thousands of participants to weekend contests on some of the country’s best trophy bass lakes.  Guides on those lakes and top-level professional anglers are not allowed to compete. Instead, Sealy targets everyday anglers, including children, with his fun and festive tournaments.

Weigh-ins are held hourly, with as many as 12 big bass each hour earning a share of the prize money.

“We are joining forces with B.A.S.S. in order to help bass fishing grow,” said Sealy. “We want to get more people involved in fishing, and so does B.A.S.S. We’re very family-oriented.” To that end, separate prizes are awarded in the “Little Anglers Division.”

Sealy noted that in one event a few years ago, an 11-year-old boy, fishing with his father and grandfather, boated an 11.57-pound bass and won the $100,000 grand prize package, including a bass boat and SUV. “Ever since then, we’ve had more sons and daughters fishing with fathers and mothers at every event,” he said.

Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO, said the partnership will strengthen B.A.S.S.’s already extensive reach into the grass roots of sportfishing, expanding it to wider audiences, especially recreational anglers, youngsters and those new to the sport.

“Through Bassmaster.com and Bassmaster Magazine, we intend to increase awareness of the Big Bass Splash tournaments and grow participation in bass fishing,” Akin said. “At the same time, we expect that our members and online viewers will enjoy our coverage of these fun, exciting, family-friendly fishing events.”

The Big Bass Splash, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2014, is the world’s largest amateur big bass fishing tournament, and it has been featured in a recent National Geographic television special. Proceeds from the events benefit the Ronald McDonald House and select McDonald’s children’s charities. Sealy now has five events in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee, with plans to reach Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in the next few years.