- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and FLW Outdoors, the world's leading marketer of competitive fishing, last week announced the selection of Richmond as the site for the inaugural $1.5million Jacobs Cup world championship of bass fishing and outdoor show Sept.10-13.
"Fishing is an enormous economic driver nationwide and in Virginia," Gov. Warner said. "The fact that we can bring top-flight professionals into our community to highlight our natural resources is a great accomplishment that signals good things to come."
The winner of the historic Jacobs Cup featuring 175 pro anglers representing 34 states, Canada and Japan will be awarded $500,000.
Qualification for the Jacobs Cup started two weeks ago on Florida's Lake Okeechobee, where pro angler Pat Fisher of Buford, Ga., earned top honors, $100,000 and, most importantly, 200 points in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour season opener. Jacobs Cup contenders will fish six FLW Tour events this season as they travel the road to Richmond. The top 48 pros and top 48 co-anglers based on points accumulated during qualifying events will advance to the Jacobs Cup.
The FLW Tour features a pro/co-angler format in which the pro supplies the boat, fishes from the front deck against other pros and controls boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points awarded to the winner, 199 points for second, 198 for third, etc. The angler with the most points at the end of the regular season will be named Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year and enter the Jacobs Cup as the No.1 seed.
Jacobs Cup competitors will fish head-to-head on the tidal James River downstream of Richmond in bracket-style competition similar to the NCAA basketball playoffs. The No.1 seed will fish against the No.48 seed, the No.2 seed will compete against the No.47 seed, and so on. Pros will fish for a combined two-day weight to eliminate half the field for the semifinal round. Weights will be cleared for the 24 semifinalists, who will continue in head-to-head competition on Day3, after which the field will be cut to 12 finalists. Weights will be cleared for the 12 finalists who will fish for a final day to determine the winner of the Jacobs Cup. All 12 finalists will have a shot at the top award; head-to-head competition ends after Day3.
The world champion will net $500,000, with cash awards presented to all competitors, including the last-place pro, who will win $12,200, enough to cover entry fees for the entire season.
Wildlife refuges celebrate 100th anniversary
March14 marks the centennial of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the only federal system of lands dedicated to the conservation and management of wildlife. On that day, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton will commemorate this conservation milestone in Sebastian, Fla., home to the first national wildlife refuge, Pelican Island. A series of events from March13 to 16 will honor this unique network of lands. The Fish & Wildlife Service's Lindsey Gordon also wants readers to know about a 6,000-square foot exhibit, "America's Wildest Places: Our National Wildlife Refuge System," going up in the National Museum of Natural History. The massive display will feature the refuge system's special role in the evolution of wildlife conservation over the last century. It will debut in March and run through September.
Flounder regulations proposed
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has submitted a recreational summer flounder fishing season for 2003. The minimum size would be 17 inches. You would be allowed to keep eight such fish (good luck with hooking eight of that size), and there would be no closed season. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will peruse the proposal and let the DNR know what it thinks of the idea. The 2003 recreational harvest limit for Maryland is 122,000 flounder. There is considerable doubt whether there are 122,000 flounder in the 17-inch-and-up size along the entire East Coast never mind Maryland alone. Stay tuned.

Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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