Big money: Bass fishing contest lures top anglers to Lake Mead

When it comes to bass fishing bragging rights and prize money in the Western U.S., it didn’t get any bigger or lucrative than this week’s competition on Lake Mead outside Las Vegas.

The WONBass U.S. Open is the Super Bowl of bass fishing this side of Texas, where 284 professionals and amateurs competed for an $80,000 first place prize, which included a $40,000 fully rigged fishing boat.

There were the grizzled angling vets sporting three-day beards like Johnny Johnson of Lakeside, Ariz., who wore the professionals’ signature long-sleeved shirts bearing sponsor logos from top to bottom. And amateurs fished for black bass, too, trudging to the daily fish weigh-ins at the Callville Bay Marina, 40 miles from downtown Las Vegas, just like the pros.

The WONBass U.S. Open is not part of any fishing circuit. The nation’s top professional bass fishermen compete at two top levels — the Bassmaster Elite Series and the newer FLW Tour. The Bassmaster and the FLW are like the American League and National League of Major League Baseball, with the U.S. Open at Lake Mead serving as its own independent mini-World Series for competitors from Bassmaster, FLW and around the world.

“This is the last big tournament on the West Coast,” said professional fisherman John Murray of Phoenix.

The 31-year-old bass fishing contest drew the sport’s biggest names this week, including anglers from Japan and Australia.

But a unique feature of the competition allows professional bass anglers to work in two-man teams with amateurs who took a week off from their day jobs to compete with the full-time pros. The pros paid a $1,600 entry fee, while the amateurs stroked a $600 check to compete Monday through Wednesday this week.

“The U.S. Open has five or six guys from the Bassmaster Elite Series and this tournament gives you the chance to test your mettle against those guys,” said Dan O’Sullivan, publisher of www.AdvancedAngler.com, which covers the sport.

Western Outdoors News (the WON part of the tournament name) puts on the bass-fishing contest. It’s a break-even enterprise for the San Clemente, Calif.-based publicaztion, said Chuck Buhagiar, the company’s director of sales and marketing.

Sponsorships pays for the prize money and provide the boat, engine and fishing tackle for the winners, Buhagiar said.

In the U.S., about 150-200 bass fishermen can make a living exclusively from competing at the tourneys, said Brett Hite, 34, of Phoenix, who competes on the FLW circuit. He said annual entry fees alone cost him $40,000.

Murray, the pro from Phoenix, said the top three or four earners in professional bass fishing generate $750,000-$1 million annually. He said the next 10 or 15 money-makers earn in the $200,000-$500,000 range.

“It’s a passion for all of us,” Murray said. “You have to watch your spending. If you win this tournament, you better bankroll it for a year and don’t go out and buy a new car.”

Sponsors range from big names like Nitro and Mercury, while small companies like Lobina Lures also are a sponsor. Jennifer Duff, of Mesa, Ariz., who owns Lobina Lures and is a former bass angler who competed in Japan, said she invested about $5,000 in the U.S. Open.

“For these guys to use our lures, it gives us credibility,” she said.

For the major brands like Mercury, the event’s official engine sponsor, participating at the U.S. Open was a move for exposure to “maintain our market share out here,” said Kevin Linehan, Mercury business development chief overseeing West Coast sales.

Contact Review-Journal writer Alan Snel at ASnel@Reviewjournal.com.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like