The River Bassin’ Trail is Ready for Relaunch
By Paul Lebowitz
In the beginning there were rivers, and soon after, kayak fishing tournaments upon them. And then there weren’t. Drew Gregory might have grown his Catch-Photo-Release River Bassin’ trail too fast and spread himself too thin.
For two years, the rivers ran quiet. And then, technology caught up. Funny how the rise of modern-primitive fishing runs hand-in-hand with the Internet and smart phones.
The River Bassin’ Trail is back, with more tour stops than ever. 34 between March and October! And that’s not counting the national championship. I’m betting no one will fish every event. Truth is, no one could unless they have a clone or two. On June 14, kayak river bassers will be battling it out in Knoxburg, TN, Leechburg, PA, and Arlington, TX. Yowza. How is that possible?
Technology. “We developed an easy and clean online system. The anglers upload their bass photos (any black bass will do so long as it is at least 8 inches long) via smart phone or later at the tournament HQ,” Gregory explains. The system tabulates the results on the go, live, in real time. And this is the fun part – spectators can follow along online, including looking at the CPR photos as they are posted.
In fact, Gregory is counting on it. He figures no one would dare add an extra half inch to a fish when so many eyes are watching.
“Like in golf, the second you hit submit your catch goes live to the world. If you're wrong, if it is 20 inches and its clearly 19 and a half, the scrutiny is too much to risk squeezing a quarter inch,” Gregory says.
Of course, every major sport relies on officials to oversee play. River Bassin’ is no different. Gregory says the top finishers will be judged and verified.
Every local tour stop will cost only $20 to fish and offer $1,000 in prizes, chiefly gift cards and product prizes with kickers for first posted fish, jackpot fish, team / solo and best hero shot. The regionals – Gregory is trying to attend every one of them – bump up to a $30 entry fee.
Gregory is glad the River Bassin’ Trail is back. “I truly enjoyed it. I’m thinking of this little girl who won a kayak in Kentucky, the look on her face, how excited she was. I wanted to make sure that came back,” he says.
The River Bassin’ Trail kicks off in San Marcos, TX on March 22.