Northern New York has a well-earned reputation as one of the best spots for fishing in the country.

For the fifth time since 2013, Waddington hosted the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament in August. Tens of thousands of spectators and more than 100 professional anglers made their way to the village once again for this renowned event. It’s a dream come true for the local tourism industry.

However, Waddington isn’t the only north country community capable of luring in anglers. The nation’s best 50 of them will compete for five days in August in the 2020 Fishing League Worldwide Pro Circuit Championship in Massena. The top prize will be $200,000.

“The FLW is holding their Pro Circuit Championship in 2020. This is the first time ever. They’ve never had anything like this before,” Donald Meissner, Massena’s sports-fishing promotion director, told members of the Massena Town Board on Wednesday. “They’re having it because of the combination of the FLW and Major League Fishing, and they’re having it here in Massena. This is an incredible step in the direction we’ve been trying to take now for several years — using fishing to bring people here.”

This Fishing League Worldwide was acquired by Major League Fishing in October. While this will be its inaugural Pro Circuit Championship, Massena has previously hosted fishing events organized by the group. More than 250 anglers took off from the Massena Intake in September for the 2019 Costa Fishing League Worldwide Series Northern Division.

“We are thrilled to visit Massena for the 2020 FLW TITLE championship,” Kathy Fennel, the Fishing League Worldwide’s executive vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “Our FLW Series tournament held in Massena last fall was extremely successful, so it made returning to the St. Lawrence River with a championship tournament for the world’s top anglers on the FLW Pro Circuit an easy decision. The bass-fishing community in upstate New York has always welcomed FLW with open arms.”

This is excellent news for Massena and Northern New York. The St. Lawrence River is an ideal location to host these tournaments. Bassmaster Magazine rated it the No. 1 bass fishery in the nation.

That’s very high praise from a respected source. With the media coverage these events receive, this region is known as an angler’s paradise.

But members of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators have at times been shy about providing funding for the Bassmaster Elite Series. Given how many people this tournament draws, that’s curious.

Spectators and participants fill local hotels, restaurants and taverns. These events serve as great venues to market the area.

“The reason we’re having this success in the town is the people here. It’s because of the treatment by the people the town put together, by all the people we put together, just the people in general in Massena. They’d never seen anything like that before. That makes a tremendous difference. That’s why FLW has chosen Massena,” Mr. Meissner said. “Now we’ve got this incredible message that we can spread to all the people in the northeast about why you should come to Massena. Massena is the place where all this is at.”

Securing the 2020 Fishing League Worldwide Pro Circuit Championship is a wonderful accomplishment for Massena. We urge community leaders to take whatever measures are necessary to put on a memorable event and leave organizers yearning to come back to this region for years to come.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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