Chris Johnston speeds down the St. Lawrence River during last year’s Bassmaster Elite tournament, looking for a location to cast a line. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

BASS officials have announced the cancellation of the Bassmaster Elite Series competition next week on Cayuga Lake but remain hopeful that the Elite Series event on the St. Lawrence River the following week will continue as scheduled.

BASS canceled the Elite competition slated for July 14-17 in Union Springs after Gov. Andrew Cuomo released last week COVID-19 guidelines for professional sports competitions, which include diagnostic testing and protocols for health screenings for all athletes and staff, as well as other safety and social distancing measures. Under those guidelines, no spectators are allowed to attend.

“New York does allow for professional athletes to have a fast track to compete here, but the regulations and protocols were way beyond what we could produce,” said Bud Shattuck, mayor of the village of Union Springs and the tournament’s host. “While we tried valiantly to get this done, it was beyond our control given the tight time frame between when guidelines were announced and competition.”

The popular Bassmaster Elite tournament in Waddington remains scheduled for July 23-26 and BASS said in a release that “at this time” BASS officials and local hosts believe the required testing can be arranged so the tournament will continue on the St. Lawrence River.

“BASS is doing everything possible within the guidelines to make sure everyone is safely on the water and fishing our events,” BASS CEO Bruce Akin said. “Every major professional sports league is instituting testing protocols and working to develop new competition plans that adhere to strict health and safety guidelines, and we’ll evolve and enhance our plans as needed to work toward our goal of completing the 2020 Bassmaster Elite season.”

BASS also said that it believes it will be able to hold the remaining Elite Series tournament in New York, slated to take place July 30-Aug. 2 on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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