- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 17, 2004

On the final day of competition in the New York Bassmaster Open over the weekend, former world champion bass angler Woo Daves, of Spring Grove, Va., went treasure hunting for his winning bass in the wreckage of a long-sunk Hudson River barge.

Woo was a little more than two pounds behind as the last day began. However, he more than made it up, boating two largemouth bass and one smallmouth to propel himself into the winner’s circle at the second tournament of the three-event Northern Open series.

Daves said his secret weapon was a Zoom Ultravibe Craw in green pumpkin, sprayed with a fish attractant named Jack’s Juice. He also used a green pumpkin Zoom tube and a Bagley Killer B crankbait.

Now, the slow-talking, hard-charging Southerner has his eye on one of the 20 qualifying spots in the Bassmaster Open Championship when the last Northern Open competition is over. The championship is slated for Oct.14-16 at Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake. The top five boaters at that event will qualify for bass fishing’s crowning event, the Bassmaster Classic, usually held in late July.

Woo was happy with the $50,000 winner’s purse and likes his chances at the Open Championship in October even more.

“I’m no spring chicken, but I’ve won three tournaments since I turned 55, so that’s not too bad,” he said. “The main thing is to get points to make the championship [and then] to make the Bassmaster Classic.”

New Fishing Hall of Fame entrants — Five men will be added to the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame this fall. The list includes Ray Scott, Mark Sosin, Walter W. Fondren III, Peter Goadby and Frank Mather III. Honorees are selected for the contributions they have made to sportfishing.

A ceremony and dinner will be held Oct. 26 at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach, Fla.

Scott was picked for turning a vision into the 600,000 Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS), which spawned a multibillion dollar international bass fishing industry. Scott innovated competitive bass fishing and was the first to promote catch-and-release in major tournaments.

Sosin’s credits span all phases of outdoor communications. The cable TV host of “Mark Sosin’s Saltwater Journal” is also a writer, photographer and radio personality.

Fondren is one of the founding members of the Gulf Coast Conservation Association and remains chairman of the nonprofit Coastal Conservation Association, which has tens of thousands of members in 15 coastal states.

Goadby, a well-known author and lecturer, was instrumental in the development of the Cairns black marlin fishery and the introduction of tag-and-release fishing in Australia. Mather, who died in 2000, dedicated his life to the study of large pelagic fishes, particularly the Atlantic bluefin tuna.

There are 50 Hall of Fame members, including Ernest Hemingway, Zane Grey and Ted Williams.

Spawning barriers to be removed — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and agency partners will pool $4.8 million this year to remove 91 barriers to fish passage in 26 states.

Service funds for the popular Fish Passage Program, amounting to $2.8 million, will be supplemented by another $2 million in matching funds from a wide array of partners, ranging from civic and conservation organizations, local and state governments and other federal agencies.

The Fish Passage Program works to remove obstructions in waterways that prevent fish from reaching spawning grounds or historic habitat. Projects can be as small as inserting culverts under roads or railroad tracks to as large as the removal last February of the 95-year-old Embrey Dam near Fredericksburg, Va., by a military explosives team.

Completion of the 2004 projects will open 19,364 acres and more than 3,048 miles of waterways for fish, contributing to larger populations and more recreational fishing opportunities.

For a complete list of affected waterways, visit news.fws.gov/NewsReleases.

TOP ANGLERS

The top five fishermen in last week’s New York Bassmaster Open:

1. Woo Daves, Spring Grove, Va., 31 lbs., 10 ozs., $50,000

2. Bill Alexander, Sylvan Beach, N.Y., 31-1, $40,000

3. Terry Baksay, Monroe, Conn., 29½-0, $15,300

4. David Wolak, Warrior Run, Pa., 28-10, $12,600

5. Tony Black, Manassas, Va., 28-6, $8,000

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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