River Bassin’ has always been about community and simply having fun on wild waters. This year, the same will be true more so than ever. The events will have a family-friendly festival feel with music, food, and a variety of yard games that participants and spectators can take part in while they await the beginning of the results show. Even anglers who have an “off day” on the water can come away big winners with the many random prize categories, including the new River Bassin’ Prize Wheel. Lucky anglers will hop on stage to spin the wheel for a chance to win big, or they may even have to donate a fishing lure of their own into Plano’s Lure Lottery that will build up throughout the season! All lures donated will be placed in a new Plano tackle box, and eventually awarded to the person who spins and lands on “Plano’s Lure Lottery Jackpot”!
In addition, at each event we’ll again be giving away a door prize Jackson Kayak that anglers, fans, spectators can enter to win. All proceeds raised for this kayak giveaway will be donated to our charity partner, Paddle 4 Tomorrow. Most events will be held “on water”, where our partnering kayak dealers will be on hand to offer free kayak demos for all.
Not only is the trail a great fit for youth and beginners, with the numerous random prizes and laid-back feel, but there will be approximately $10,000 in cash/prizes given away at each tour stop for the seasoned River Bassers who are after the coveted River Basser of the Year (RBOY) or River Bassin’ Team of the Year (RBTOY) trophies. There will be fifteen events (including the open National Championship) this year, increasing from the twelve that were held last year. However, we have removed all “local events” because the regional events are more popular. Drew Gregory of Jackson Kayak, and host of Hooked on Wild Waters, will be on stage at each event to MC the River Bassin’ Results Show! During the show, prizes will be awarded in the following divisions: Individual, Team, College Kayak Fishing (new), Youth, Top Lady & other numerous random prize categories.
This year, we have split the tournament trail into four regions – Central, Southeast, Midwest and Northeast/Mid Atlantic. At the championship, held on the famed Susquehenna River in PA, these top forty anglers will compete for the grand prize packages that come along with the RBOY & RBTOY titles! Anglers chasing these titles will want to know that their top three event finishes will count towards their Regional Series Score. However, as always, anglers can fish more than three events if they wish to increase their odds at placing in the coveted top ten; an angler’s lowest finishing score will always be bumped out of their top three. A win at any event will be worth 100 points, a second place finish worth 95, and so on all the way down to tenth place. Anglers can, within the rules, compete and place in the top ten in more than one region, since they are not confined to only fish events within the region of which they reside. In fact, fishing outside of an angler’s home region can prove to be very beneficial; aside from the $10,000 in cash/prizes they could win at any event, an angler fishing outside of his/her home region will receive bonus points (toward their regional standings) if they place in the top ten. A first-place finish will result in ten bonus points, second place receives nine, third receives eight, and so on down through tenth place. This should encourage and reward anglers fishing events outside of their region.
Holding most of the 2016 events “on water” means that we’ll be utilizing some new locations that are prime for River Bassin’! Events will be held at state parks, campgrounds, or outfitters located riverside or lakeside. This should only further grow the community feel of the tournaments and allow us to go where some of the best River Bassin’ is. Some smaller areas of “flat water” may be in bounds to ensure that there is safe water to fish on tournament day. If so, these areas will be specified on each event page, but 90% of the in-bounds water will be true free-flowing rivers or creeks. Anglers are allowed to fish within a radius (usually fifty miles) of the host location, as in years past. However, this year, it is a true “as the crow flies” circular radius. The system will not accept any photos from anglers who fish out of bounds.
For those that can’t make any in-person events, or for those who just want to fish more events, we have a complete lineup of inexpensive season-long online events. You can enter events for specific species of bass, online regional events and there is even a free Ruffwear Top Dog event for those who fish with their four legged friends! Anglers and fans will also notice the new logo’d River Bassin’ RV that Drew Gregory and his wife Cristina will bring to every trail stop this year. Alongside the RV will be a stage, complete with a Results Show backdrop, sound system and new Suspenz kayak stands, where the top three anglers can park their watercraft when called up on stage, if wanting to show off their sponsors or rig. To make a better fan experience there will be a TV stage-side showing off the bass photos of the top anglers while they’re on stage discussing their day with Drew. Finally, to the side of the stage, there will be a new River Bassin’ Retail store where fans of the tournament trail can purchase new hats, shirts, decals and some discounted products from sponsors of the trail. There will even be a new “garage sale” section where anglers can buy used gear or sell some of their own used items (100% goes back to the selling party)! Don’t be surprised to see some vendor tents at the events either, so that anglers can learn more about the products and brands that support the tournament series.
To sum it up, the River Bassin’ Tournament Trail is ready to spread the love of kayak fishing in wild places once again in 2016. We’re proud to offer a large prize purse, while at the same time keeping the trail laid back and fun, as our new slogan alludes to: “No Egos, Just Fun.” See you in 2016!