Toyota is sponsoring the 5th annual Texas Bass Classic being held this weekend at Lake Conroe just north of The Woodlands up I-45 from Houston.
Fifty world class Bass anglers have been invited to this no entry fee event that guarantees all will take home prize money. The grand prize for the highest cumulative weight of fish caught is $100,000 cash plus a new Legend Boat powered by Evinrude. The three day tournament combines top PAA (Professional Anglers Association) from the Wallmart FLW Tour, Bassmaster Elite Series and Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series. The tournament activities are operated by the PAA with technical assistance and support provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division. Toyota is the lead sponsor.
This event is one of a series of events sponsored by Toyota to showcase their vehicle safety, durability and quality through hands on opportunity to engage with several new 2012 Toyota vehicles. A unique off road course has been designed for the TTBC to demonstrate the Toyota truck and SUV line up to the fans in attendance. Those in attendance will be able to get behind the wheel of the reinvented 2012 Camry at the Toyota Camry Ride and Drive. The special edition Daytona 500 Camry will be on display.
The Texas Bass Classic is a whole family event from Friday through Sunday that offers thrill of watching some of the world’s best anglers fish at Lake Conroe, but also a full range of exhibits from more than 70 exhibitors and events at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center that offer fun and relaxation along with education for all members of the family.
Each day, the event activities will end with a concert at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center. This year the entertainers are: Billy Currington on Friday at 8:30PM, Pat Green on Saturday at 8:30PM and closing on Sunday with Robert Earl Keen at 6PM.
Several of the Bass anglers in this year’s tournament are members of the Toyota Pro Team and drive specially marked Toyota Tundra and Tacoma pick up trucks or Sequoia SUV’s, hauling their gear and towing their boats from event to event across the country through the season. One of the favorites this year is Toyota Pro Team member Mike Iaconelli out of Pittsgrove, New Jersey. Mike has been a professional angler for 10 years with 7 major wins and prize money earned over $2.06 million.
According to Mike, his Tundra is extremely important to his success in that it safely, comfortably and reliably carries him 30-40,000 plus miles in a year, hauling all of his equipment and gear including his special worms so easily that he often has to check his mirrors to see if his boat trailer is still on the hitch following.
According to tournament officials, the low levels of Lake Conroe this year are likely to add to the excitement and possibility of catching record fish. As one official put it, “fish get dumb when stressed and some big old Bass out there that have dodged the hook in years prior just might not be so lucky this year”.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic benefits the programs of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with emphasis on conservation and development of Texas inland fishing as a full family recreation activity. Since inception of the tournament, over $1 million has been donated by the TTBC.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) is unique in that it follows a detailed catch and release format that has earned the event praise from all who engage in the sport. No fish under 21 inches can be kept and only one over 21 inches may be kept in the boat well for each days catch. Only fish over 14 inches can count toward weight for the day and must be returned to the water as soon as weighed and measured. Fish over 21 inches, as caught, may be culled after weighing in order for the angler to keep the largest over 21 inches for final weigh in. These fish are kept in special weigh in bags provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) for special handling and return by the TPWD following the final weigh in. The Official Toyota Tundra trucks are equipped with special holding tanks to accommodate the bags and protect the fish on the drive from Lake Conroe to the judges’ station at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center at the end of each day.