Toyota Texas Bass Classic Prepares For Severe Weather - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/13/07-Wood County

Toyota Texas Bass Classic Prepares For Severe Weather

With severe weather on it's way Friday night, event organizers of this weekend's Toyota Texas Bass Classic say they are ready to act quickly.   The event is expected to bring in around 25,000 people to the Lake Fork area.  That's located in Wood County near Quitman.  

It's the biggest bass fishing tournament East Texas has ever seen.  Event organizers say they've been preparing for the tournament for 18 months, preparation that includes bad weather.

"In an event like this where there are a lot of boats that come out in an outdoor environment, we spend a lot of time like 24-28 hours before just monitoring the weather through the National Weather Service, just to make sure we have a game plan," said J.C. Fassino, Toyota Senior Vice President of Marketing. The game plan, organizers say is to use the loud speaker to warn all spectators of severe weather. As far as those fishermen out on the water, they came back in at 4:00 p.m. Friday afternoon for the final weigh in. For many, however, their next stop is their R.V., where many people are staying this weekend.

"What can I do," said Pete Wayland, Bass Classic Judge staying in R.V. "It's nature. Down here you have to play it by ear." Martin Edwards, owner of the Minnow Bucket Marina and R.V. Park says he's warning his customers to be careful tonight.

"We have a pavilion down there and we have bathrooms, and they are made out of hay light block, and they are fitted to that slab, and I told them they could go there of they need to seek shelter," said Martin Edwards, owner of Minnow Bucket Marina and R.V. Park. For now, everyone at Lake Fork is just crossing their fingers, hoping the severe weather passes them by.

"Let's hope it goes around us," said Wayland. Event organizers say they do not plan to take down any of the tents tonight. They say they are built to handle bad weather.

As mentioned above, this is the biggest bass fishing tournament East Texas has ever seen, and for the first time, the bass classic will be nationally televised exposing Lake Fork to the entire country.   The Toyota Texas Bass Classic has brought in more than 150 of the world's best anglers. It has also made an impact on local businesses. Organizers say every nearby hotel is full this weekend, as well as, all the R.V. parks.  

"People are coming in from all across the country," said Dave Terre, Program Director of Inland Fisheries for Texas Parks and Wildlife. "They estimate we are going to have about 25,000 people over the next three days to enjoy Lake Fork and see this wonderful fisheries that we have created for Texas.  The world of bass fishing will know about this lake if they don't know already."   There are some free concerts this weekend at the bass classic.  Tomorrow from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon, Danielle Peck and Zona Jones will be performing. At 5:30 p.m. Clay Walker will be on the stage. Then Sunday, starting at 1:30 p.m. Mineola's Kacey Musgraves will sing along with Todd Fritsch. Then at 5:30 p.m Tracy Lawrence will perform.  Again, all concerts are free.

Molly Reuter, reporting.


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