Scott has fresh idea in creel

`Bass Boss' looks to test TV waters with new show

BASS Masters Classic notebook

Fishing

July 26, 2002|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,SUN STAFF

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The "Bass Boss" is back at the event he founded, and now he's looking to return to television with a new weekly show.

Ray Scott hopes to find a network - perhaps ESPN or Outdoor Life - to air Eagles of Angling, a bass competition that permits only 4-pound test and doesn't allow anglers to use nets to boat their fish.

The 13-week show would pit two teams of two anglers against each other for a day of fishing, with the winner moving on to the next round.

"I'm more convinced of this concept than I was when I started BASS," said Scott, who founded BASS in 1968 and sold it to his deputy and an Alabama investment firm in 1986.

"We're putting sport back in sport fishing. It's not as exciting today as it was 15-20 years ago, and that's not a criticism. The fishermen today are just trying to produce pounds of meat for a win."

Scott brushed off criticism that using lighter line puts more stress on the fish because it takes more time and effort to get it in the boat.

"That's for saltwater fish. A black bass is like a mule. ... They just quit [fighting] when they get tired," he said.

Scott has a pilot episode in the can - with anglers Davy Hite, Paul Elias, Roland Martin and Ken Cook - and has tested it on bass clubs.

"They seem to like it. The best scene is when Elias blows it. He just about blows a gasket. Roland loses [a couple of fish] and has a tantrum. He pounds his feet up and down. That's exciting television."

The professional anglers seemed happy to see Scott at the BASS Masters Classic.

"Now, it's an official Classic," said competitor Mike Wurm.

Their warm welcome this week touched Scott, who only this year is emerging from a frosty relationship with BASS.

"I've always been here. It's just this year I'm coming in through the front door," he said with a wink and grin.

Snakehead pops up

It took just about 10 seconds for the northern snakehead to rear its ugly self at an open question-and-answer session with Steve Williams, the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Scott Sewell, conservationist for the Maryland B.A.S.S. Federation, asked Williams about the agency's involvement in attempts to identify and eradicate the toothy predator from the Crofton gravel pond.

Williams said the state Department of Natural Resources would continue to lead the effort, but federal authorities involved in land management issues would be seeking larger budgets to deal with the larger issue of invasive species.

Maxfield calls time

The last time Maryland bass fishing fans saw Carl Maxfield, the South Carolina angler was holding aloft an oversized $100,000 check that proclaimed him king of the Potomac River.

That was two years ago, when Maxfield captured first place in the BASSMASTER Top 150 stop in Maryland.

And that, it turns out, was the highlight of his next year.

"I went into a little bit of a slide and got a little sidetracked," he said. "I can't put my finger on it."

But Maxfield regrouped this year and collected 580 points, good for 15th place on the tour and a spot in the Classic.

The slump taught Maxfield a lesson. He'll be taking off this fall for deer hunting, college football watching and a little recreational fishing.

"I'm just going to chill out, but I'm not going to let any spider webs grow on my fishing tackle," he said.

Maxfield will return for the winter and fall, and looks forward to competing in a revamped format that will include for the first time two stops in California.

The difference between Maxfield's first Classic in 2000 and this one is he knows what's waiting for him.

"I'm a lot more relaxed. I know more of what to expect," he said. "Chicago was a whirlwind and I got pulled a lot of different ways. I've learned to use my time better."And that, apparently, includes taking some off.

Keeping it in family

Virginia's Woo Daves, winner of the 2000 Classic, has 22 sponsors and plenty of fans. He even has angler footwear - the Woo Shoe - on the market.

So this year Daves is diverting some interviews to his 30-year-old son, Chris, who qualified for his second Classic (he competed in 1996, also on Lay Lake) by finishing in the money in all of the eastern tournaments this past year.

There have been four father-son combinations to qualify over the 32 years of the event.

Does Woo, a 17-time Classic angler, give his son suggestions?

"I don't give him any advice," said the senior Daves. "I don't want it to be bad advice."

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