BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Quantum creates reels that draw the attention of young guns — and aspiring young guns — so it was a logical move for Quantum Reels to sponsor the 2013 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series.
“We’ve talked often as an industry over the past couple of decades as to how to increase participation in fishing,” said Bob Bagby, vice president of marketing for The Zebco Brands, which includes Quantum products. “Fortunately, the recent, fast-rising popularity of tournament bass fishing on university campuses has gone a great distance in satisfying that challenge by making fishing credible and cool to a young group of anglers.
“The Quantum PT products are known for their cutting-edge components and designs, which are the same qualities targeted by this extremely avid generation of youthful anglers,” Bagby added. “Hence, it makes perfect sense for us to support the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series.”
The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series has indeed shown that the college market is a growth area. In the few years since it was first operated by B.A.S.S., the circuit has grown to reach anglers from about 100 colleges and universities. In 2012, approximately 700 students in more than 330 boats participated in six College Series events.
“We are very pleased to have Quantum Reels join us as a sponsor,” said Hank Weldon, manager of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, which is owned and operated by B.A.S.S. LLC in Birmingham, Ala. “College-age anglers grew up with the brand. They know it, and they trust the name to help them succeed on the water.”
That includes the Quantum Smoke PT, with new models of the reduced-weight reel for 2013, and the expanding lineup of reels based on Quantum Generation Exo technology introduced in 2012. Exo reels have aluminum exoskeleton frames that put “metal where it matters,” as Quantum describes the design.
Tulsa, Okla.-based Quantum is getting involved with the College Series during a season of serious tweaks to a proven format. A new conference structure — Southern, Central, Western, Eastern and Midwestern — will make competition available to more college students. Like before, the best anglers of the season will qualify for the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship. The new twist in 2013 is the wildcard event that will give other anglers another chance to get into the championship.
All college anglers want to make it into the national championship because that gives them a shot at the plum of the season: an entry in the Bassmaster Classic. The day after the national championship concludes, anglers on the five best teams advance to an individual, bracket-style competition for one Classic seat.
“The new wild card event adds another incentive for students to become involved in their college’s team,” Weldon said. “They see that they’ll get one more chance to qualify for the final event. Being in the championship is the only way to advance to the bracketed competition and try for that Bassmaster Classic berth.”
The Oklahoma State University team won the Carhartt College Series Championship in Little Rock last July, but Matt Lee of Auburn University survived the bracket competition to earn a coveted entry into the 2013 Classic.
Lee, 23, of Cullman, Ala., will compete against 52 other anglers Feb. 22-24 on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees out of Tulsa, Okla., for a $500,000 first-place prize.
Quantum’s debut as a College Series sponsor will be next month at the season opener, the Southern Conference Regional, Jan. 4-5, on the Harris Chain of Lakes out of Tavares, Fla. The schedule will continue with more stops at first-rate fisheries: Lake Amistad in Texas in March; California’s Clear Lake in early April; Santee Cooper Reservoir out of Manning, S.C., in mid-April; and Iowa for a Mississippi River tournament in late May. The wild card event will be on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., in June. Sites and dates for the championship and Classic-qualifying competition are to be determined.
2013 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt
2013 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Humminbird, Koppers Live Target, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Quantum, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2013 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Sponsors: Livingston, Power-Pole, Shimano
2013 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Proud Partner: Mustang Survival