Merwin: A Big Week for Pro Bass Fishing

There’s lots of interesting news in tournament bass fishing this week, most notably that B.A.S.S. is being sold by ESPN … Continued

There’s lots of interesting news in tournament bass fishing this week, most notably that B.A.S.S. is being sold by ESPN to a trio of investors who just might rejuvenate that arthritic organization.

Avid bass angler and retired Time, Inc. CEO Don Logan has teamed with Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland to reach what’s being called “an agreement in principle” with ESPN/Disney to take control of B.A.S.S.. Interestingly, Logan was once–very indirectly–my boss as Time, Inc. for a few years owned Field & Stream. We once met on a Florida bass lake. He was–and I assume still is–widely recognized as a business genius in the media world. That’s a good thing. He’s going to need it.

Elsewhere, who should surface yesterday in the bass-tournament world but none other than Texas tycoon T. Boone Pickens. Irwin Jacobs, professional bass fishing’s huckster-in-chief and otherwise known as chairman of FLW Outdoors, announced yesterday that Pickens has become an equity partner in FLW.

That turned out to be a very good thing for pro angler Kevin Hawk, who clinched the FLW Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier yesterday. Pickens himself added $100 grand to the tournament purse, so Hawk netted $600,000. (Note that Pickens and Jacobs aren’t strangers and have mutual involvement in some wind-energy projects.)

In still another development, Jacobs and Wal-Mart have announced that Wal-Mart is back on board as a major FLW sponsor. Wal-Mart, along with many other major corporate sponsors of pro-bass fishing, had mostly dropped out as the national economy tanked over the past couple of years.

So I’m left wondering what all this means. For one thing, there’s some seriously heavy money betting that a recovery of sorts is not far away. I sure hope so. There are too many people around here looking for work. Families are hurting. If they get jobs, they presumably might be able to afford to buy more fishing tackle. Maybe even a bass boat….