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Delaware River hosts the Bassmaster Elite fishing tournament

This mass of bass pro's and boats await the starting horn on the Delaware River
This mass of bass pro's and boats await the starting horn on the Delaware River
photo courtesy Bassmaster Elite

If you’re familiar with professional bass fishing tournaments, the general consensus is you either love them or hate them. If hating them, it’s primarily because some anglers think the pro’s mess up their fishing spots when they catch bass, then put them in a live well for transport to a weighing station, where they’re eventually returned to the water but not necessarily where they came from. All this to see who is the better fisherman by catching the heaviest total pounds of bass.

If you’re a lover of pro bass fishing tournaments it’s because you learn from the pro’s how to fish various lakes and rivers and what lures they use to entice largemouth and smallmouth bass.

If that's you, drive down to Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia where the Bassmaster Elite series bass fishing tournament got underway at dawn today in the Delaware River. The four-day tournament ends Sunday (Aug.10) and it’s the day the winner is decided based on his total catch.

Having been to two Bassmaster Classic tournaments in the past, I can vouch that the final two days are like the Super Bowl with a parade of boats blasting off en-masse when signaled in pre-dawn hours with anglers traveling to their list of hot-spots that they pre-fished earlier in order to find fish.

Then at the signaled close of fishing each day, the parade resumes with anglers and their boats returning - in parade fashion - to have their catch weighed in front of a horde of media and avid anglers and their families.

According to PFBC Executive Director John Arway, “The build-up and excitement surrounding the weigh-in each afternoon at Penn’s Landing is bound to spark an interest in adults and kids to renew their interest in fishing or to try fishing for the first time.”

He goes on to say, “The weigh-in is an entertainment production with a big stage, an MC and music, all building up to pro anglers weighing their catches and seeing their name on the leader board.”

There’s also the economic issue that occurs with Arway pointing to the 2009 national bass tournament that was held in Pittsburgh. It was estimated that $34.7 million was spent by attendees, which Arway adds, was more than what was spent during the international G-20 economic summit.

What will make this tournament more difficult for the pro anglers is that the Delaware River has tidal movement of seven feet twice a day. That means anglers have to know tidal charts and where the river is dropping at a certain time of day, all of which can affect fishing.

Of course long-time pro’s like Rick Clunn will be there as will former Pittsburgh native now a Philly resident, Mike Iaconneli, a veteran of the bass tournament circuit.

The PF&BC Outreach and Education staff will have an education booth on site at the afternoon events where they’ll answer visitor’s questions.

For more information on the Delaware tournament, check


The PF&BC would like to remind everyone of the second youth fishing day coming up on Labor Day, Sept. 1.
To encourage participation on this day, the PF&BC announced that is has reduced the price of a Labor Day 1-day adult resident and nonresident license fee of $1. With the issuing license agent ‘s transaction fees, the total price for the special 1-day license is $2.70.

According the John Arway, PF&BC executive director, “We chose the panfish enhancement lakes for this day because these waters have been managed to produce a large number of sunfish, crappies and perch, which makes the day that much more fun. As an added incentive, we’re removing the minimum size limits, which are either seven or nine inches, depending upon species.”

Arway added that 17 lakes (listed at will be open to all anglers on Labor Day, so individuals fishing the lake without mentors are likely to experience larger crowds while having to adhere to existing size limits.

The special 1-day license is available through the PF&BCs Outdoor Shop on their website, or at any issuing agent.

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