Minneapolis – July 21, 2006 – Minnesota Bass Federation Nation extends a helping hand to Litchfield Watercade to promote conservation and improved tournament practices.

July 21, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
Mark Gomez accepted the challenge on behalf of the MNBF and met with Harlan Andersen the Litchfield Watercade board chairman. In talking with Anderson, it was apparent that the board had been running the tournament as part of their many watercade celebration duties but only one person had actually experienced the large tournament process. However, he was not comfortable with taking a leadership role and running a 40 boat tournament.

They actually had several significant challenges that they needed to overcome. While they had been holding this event for a number of years they recognized that there were probably more efficient methods to manage it, which is why they sought help. It appeared that they had also grappled with some credibility issues over time. They needed to prove to their customers, watercade tournament anglers, that they were making the appropriate level of effort to manage the total pay out impartially. They also acknowledged the fact that they were attempting to manage a large tournament while lacking adequate weigh-in equipment.

After initial meetings, it was decided that several changes would be made to their tournament format. Mark Gomez would serve as tournament weigh-master. The Shimano Water Weigh-In system would be utilized to organize the weigh in procedure to limit the time where the fish had less than ideal life support, with the objective to show them how to be better stewards of the Lake Ripley environment. A pre-tournament meeting was implemented to explain the format changes and share information up front to support fish survivability. In addition, it was strongly recommended that anglers follow accepted tournament safety practices for PFDs and kill switch lanyards and conducted ease off by boat number, rather than their usual shot gun start.

Mark conducted the pre-tournament meeting on the dock and encouraged the contestants to ask questions. They readily accepted the changes and were receptive to things they would see at weigh-in.

The weigh-in went very well. The portable weigh-master kit worked perfectly for a 40 boat tournament. Mark took time to explain the reason for the water weigh-in to the audience as well. Even though the tournament weigh-in process was altered from previous years, it was completed within an acceptable time frame. No complaints were heard from the contestants and the board was very pleased with the knowledge and structure that the MNBF was able to bring to their event. A quick scan of the shoreline was done after the weigh-in, no dead fish were sighted

The watercade board members were very grateful for the efforts Mark Gomez and the MNBF made and they have a new appreciation for changing the process to promote conservation and to reduce the negative impact to their home waters. It is hoped that the MNBF discovers the same appreciation when they head east to help our neighbors with the Wisconsin TOC!

For additional information on the news that is the subject of this release visit www.mnbf.org

About Minnesota Bass Federation:
The Minnesota BASS Federation is committed to promoting fishing for all ages and skill levels. We offer our assistance to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to improve fishing opportunities, habitat, water quality & preservation of public access to Minnesota’s waterways. We work with state and local government, lake associations and other outdoor organizations to protect our fishing heritage. Through our youth initiatives, we provide education and on the water experiences to foster youth involvement and sustained interest in our sport.

Rich Lindgren, Marketing Director
Minnesota Bass Federation Nation