Waddington remains in big picture of Bassmaster Elite Series future

Elite angler Brandon Palanuik meets with fans at the Bassmaster Elite Tournament in Waddington last week. Provided photo

The 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule was announced on July 20.

The schedule unveiling noted that the series was returning to the St. Lawrence River but not to Waddington but to Clayton.

It was stunning news to many area fishing fans and innuendos tried to lay blame on Waddington and different agencies in St. Lawrence County for the tournament’s move to Clayton.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The love affair between BASS and the Bassmaster Elite Series with Waddington, St. Lawrence County and the St. Lawrence River is as strong as ever. Scheduling an elite tournament at Clayton was a natural scheduling progression which happens on the Elite tour all over the country and had nothing to do with the this year’s tournament at Waddington or the last minute switch to Clayton last year because of COVID-19 protocols in St. Lawrence County.

Waddington is anything but gone or forgotten in the BASS world.

“Thank you Waddington for always showing up! Without fans like you we don’t exist as a sport -bmpfishing -Fishing fans @skeeter_boats: @sherwoodoutdoors,” said Bassmaster Elite angler Brandon Palanuik in a facebook post.

The anglers to a man praised Waddington throughout the Farmer’s Insurance Bassmaster Elite Tournament on the St. Lawrence and Floridan Bernie Schultz said he would move to Waddington if “it wasn’t so cold in the winter.”

Lake Champlain and Oneida Lake are also in the BASS rotation and are not hosting Elite Tour tournaments, according to the current schedule for next year. There is one opening which has not been announced yet.

BASS LLC Communications Manager Emily Harley explained it in this way when asked.

“B.A.S.S. loves the St. Lawrence River and has had a fantastic relationship with St. Lawrence County and the Village of Waddington. The events are always well-run and well-attended, and our local hosts with the Village and Chamber of Commerce are always incredibly helpful and responsive. We are confident that Clayton will prove to be a wonderful host as well.

“It is our practice to rotate Elite Series tournaments (and every level that we offer) to different communities and different fisheries around the country, so it is not unusual to see an event shift. As an example, B.A.S.S. has multiple events on Pickwick Lake this year and we are dividing those between Florence, Ala., and Counce, Tenn.

“We look forward to being back in St. Lawrence County when it hosts the 2021 Bassmaster College Series National Championship in August and, as future schedules are released, Waddington may host events from other series on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail,” Harley concluded.

Former Waddington Mayor Janet Otto Cassada played a major role in bringing the Bassmaster Elite Tour to Waddington seven years ago and added her insight in a Facebook post on the subject.

“They (the elites) would not have been here next year anyway. We have a four year contract. Three elites and an open/National for 2022. That was and always has been the schedule. They need to spread it around as best they can to keep the tournaments fresh and a must see event. They have honored us with the first ever 4 year contract and that is something our small Village can be very proud of. They will be back in future years as we have one of the best rivers in the world. Chins up everyone, this is not the end just a refresher!”

BASS NATION IN BURG

The New York State BASS National Tour will return to Ogdensburg for a one-day tournament on Aug. 15. The tournament is being hosted by the City of Ogdensburg.

New York BASS is also know as the New York BASS Federation and has held points tournaments out of Ogdensburg for many years. The tour’s club championship was also staged out of Ogdensburg in the past and as the host team the Northern New York Bassmasters claimed a championship led by the late great Al O’Marah.

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