Publics Right To Access US Waters To Boat and Fish Taken To The US Supreme Court

Ponca City, Oklahoma – May 20, 2008

The Bass Federation, Inc. (TBF) announced today that together with the “Restore Our Water Access, Inc.” a Louisiana fishing organization known as ROWA, that a comprehensive Amicus Brief has been filed a with the U. S. Supreme Court in support of the public’s right to fish and boat on the navigable waters of America, including the Mississippi River. Over 40 other national and statewide fishing and boating organizations have joined together with ROWA and TBF in support of the brief.

Mr. Artie Nevels, President of ROWA, stated, “In 1873, in The Slaughterhouse Cases, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the public’s right to boat and fish on navigable waters was a common right of all U.S. citizens. The arrest of the five Louisiana fishermen fishing the Mississippi River violated those men’s rights of citizenship. The Amicus brief filed in this matter re-affirms our rights of citizenship. This is a national crusade to re-affirm the public’s right to fish, hunt and boat on America’s navigable waters. ROWA is proud to be the national leader in restoring America’s access to public waters from California to Maine.”

The five Louisiana fishermen arrested while fishing on the Mississippi River, filed their application for another appeal to the United States Supreme Court on April 15, 2008. On May 15, 2008, the coalition of 40 national and state-wide conservation and fishing groups. In this case, groups from twenty-five of the states, including all the states that border on the Mississippi River, have joined in the fight to re-affirm under federal law the public’s right to use the navigable rivers of America up to normal high water. Also joining the Amicus are groups from Wisconsin, Connecticut, Colorado, New Mexico, California, Maine, Minnesota and Oregon. The group is led by ROWA and supported by such prominent groups as The Bass Federation (TBF), Planning and Conservation League, FLW Outdoors, Oklahoma Anglers Unlimited, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, and many others who have signed on to the brief in support of the Louisiana Fishermen in their defense of fishing on navigable waters.

The Amicus brief is a pleading used by persons who have a vital interest in the matter before the Court, and desire to support one side of the argument. The group which is made up of fishing, boating and conservation groups hired Emory Law School Professor, David Bedermen, to prepare the amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court. Professor Bedermen is an experienced appellate attorney, and legal expert on national water rights.

According to Robert Cartlidge, President of TBF, “ROWA, is the leading Louisiana advocacy group that supports recreational use of all of Louisiana’s public waters, and they are the moving force in organizing the national support for the Louisiana fishermen in this case. TBF has many members up and down the Mississippi river basin and access to public waters, as well as public waters being held for private use to the exclusion of America’s citizens is a growing concern for TBF and our membership nationwide not just in Louisiana. TBF is proud to be partnered with ROWA on this endeavor. We urge all boaters, hunters and anglers to get behind this group and lend your support. If we do not do it today it may be in your back yard next time and “to late”.”

Mr. Artie Nevels, President of ROWA, stated that “With the joining of these national fishing and conservation groups in common support of public recreational use of America’s navigable waters, the legal stage has been set at the Supreme Court to re-affirm the public’s right to use navigable waters of America.

**At its 2007 annual meeting the National Wildlife Federal passed a resolution supporting public recreational use of navigable waters up to normal high water. In May 2008, the Louisiana Recreational Freshwater Fishing Taskforce under the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department, also passed a resolution in support of public fishing in navigable waters. Public access to navigable waters for fishing and boating is a national movement”

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Artie Nevels, President of ROWA or Paul Hurd at

Lake Norman site of TBF Southern Divisional

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Bass Federation 2008 Southern Divisional Championship will be held on Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C., June 11-13. As many as 84 competitors representing seven Southern Division states – Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina – are expected to compete in the tournament.

The public is invited to Blythe Landing located at 15901 Highway 73 in Huntersville, N.C., to watch the takeoffs and weigh-ins at 6 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. Admission is free.

Anglers will compete both individually and as state teams in an effort to qualify for the prestigious TBF National Championship presented by the National Guard. The top three state teams will be awarded trophies and cash prizes. The angler with the heaviest three-day weight will also earn a $500 Wal-Mart gift card as the Castrol Maximum Performer.

Each state team is made up of 12 anglers, and the top-finishing angler from each team will advance to the 2009 TBF National Championship presented by the National Guard as a boater. The No. 2 competitor from each state team will advance to the National Championship as a co-angler.

In TBF Divisional Championship competition, anglers are randomly paired each day and share control of the boat throughout the day.

Official practice for the TBF Southern Divisional Championship begins at daylight June 8 and continues through 2 p.m. June 10.


Submitted by: Nick Angiulo

The TBF New Jersey Bass Federation, celebrating its 35TH anniversary, opened up its 2008 tournament season in fine style at the May 4, 2008 event held on the Northern Chesapeake/Susquehanna Flats. This event produced some heavy weights in both the Boater and Co-Angler Divisions and some close competition. In all, the Federation anglers hit the seemingly never-ending expanse of rivers, bays and creeks on a pleasant early Spring day marked by early clouds followed by bright sun and breezy winds in search of the ever-challenging 15-inch or larger bass.

Boater Division

Capturing first place in the Boater Division in impressive style was Doug Peabody. Doug, who hails from Brick, New Jersey, and is a member of the Limiters, posted the victory by bringing a five-fish limit to the scales weighing a whopping 19.38 pounds, which included two fish over five pounds. Doug indicated that he fished in an area he has fished in previous years in the Sassafras River, and, even though he only managed one fish in practice there, believed that there were fish to be caught in that location. On the morning of the tournament, he pulled in and began throwing a Rattletrap bait on the inside edge of the weed line. Fifteen minutes later he had two good keepers and caught the rest of his weight by 9:00 a.m. Included in this catch was one largemouth weighing 5.46 pounds and another weighing 5.28 pounds. Doug stated that this was his second-ever Federation win, with the other win also on the Flats. He wished to thank all of his club mates for all of their help. For his Boater Division victory, he received $1,170.

Finishing in second place, more than one-half pound behind was Dave Frost, Peabody’s club mate. Frost, from North Haledon, New Jersey also weighed in a hefty sack of five bass totaling 18.78 pounds. Dave stated that he fished marinas and weed beds in the Northeast River and on the main flats. He indicated that he only caught six keepers on the day, but made every one of them count. Armed exclusively with a flippin’ stick, Dave caught his biggest fish, a fish over five pounds, and another solid fish, in the last half hour of the event. For his second place Boater Division finish, Frost received $936.

Third place went to the ever-consistent Rich Schneidereit, who weighed in a five-fish limit totaling 16.86 pounds. Schneidereit, from Medford, New Jersey, and a member of the Clearwater Bassmasters, reported that he had one of those rare near-perfect fishing days where every decision he made was the right one. Rich stated that in the morning he fished a weed bed in the Bohemia River and caught a quick limit with a black and blue Sweet Beaver. He culled through the morning and at noon made a move to the Sassafras River, where he proceeded to catch a five pounder and a three and one-half pounder within the first few minutes on a crankbait. He then returned to the Bohemia and continued to catch fish. For his third place finish, he received a check for $643, and will also receive an additional $500 in Ranger Cup bonus money as the highest eligible finishing Ranger boat owner.

Rounding out the rest of the top Boater Division finishers was Mike Sims in fourth place with a five-fish limit weighing 16.20 pounds, worth $468; Chris Oeser in fifth place with a five-fish limit weighing 15.22 pounds, worth $409; and Chris Smith in sixth place with a five-fish limit weighing 14.68 pounds, worth $292.

With the big weights at the top of the Boater Division, it is amazing that the Boater Division Lunker was not caught by one of the top finishers. Rather, that prize went to Rob Laufenberg, who weighed in a 6.40 pound behemoth. Laufenberg, from Denville, New Jersey and another member of the Limiters, caught his fish in the Northeast River on a crankbait and was awarded $270.

Co-Angler Division

If the first event is any indication, this year’s Co-Angler Division promises significant competition as well as enhanced prize money to the top finishers.

With this in mind, first place went to Bruce Knevals, who weighed in an impressive five-fish limit totaling 15.48 pounds. Knevals, from Morristown, New Jersey, and a member of the Quickfire Bassmasters, stated that his victory was his first-ever Federation placing. He indicated that he fished with Mike Sims who put him on fish in the Sassafras River much of the day. Bruce threw a green chatterbait in weed beds near bluff banks to catch all of his fish. He estimated that he and Mike caught 30 keeper-sized fish on the day and that culling was quite an adventure. Bruce stated it was one of his greatest days of fishing and wished to thank Mike for bringing him to areas with such an abundance of fish. He also emphasized that anglers like Mike are the future of the Federation; a young angler who went out of his way to be friendly, gracious and accommodating to him throughout the entire day. For his Co-Angler Division victory, Bruce received $610.

Finishing second in the Co-Angler Division was Al “Froggy” Kolasa who also brought a five-fish limit to the scales that weighed 13.96 pounds, and included the Co-Angler Division Lunker winning fish, a 4.28 pound largemouth. Froggy, from Blairstown, New Jersey, and a member of the Mega Bass 6, reported that he thought, given the time of year, it would be a “Senko” de Mayo pattern, but instead it turned out to be a “Lizard la Loco” day. He stated that he threw a six inch moccasin colored plastic lizard to catch all seven of his keepers on the day. Fishing in a cooperative effort with his boater on the day, Jason Orecchio, in Bohemia River weed beds proved to be the ticket. Froggy also wished to thank his club mate, George Hutchinson, with helping in locating fish in practice. For his second place Co-Angler Division finish, Froggy received a check for $488; and an additional $130 check for his Co-Angler Division Lunker.

Third place Co-Angler was Dave Hayes with four fish weighing 8.32 pounds. Hayes, from Pittsgrove, New Jersey, and a member of Gloucester County Bassmasters stated that he fished with Rich Schneidereit on the day mainly in the Bohemia River. While Rich and others were catching fish on creature-type baits, Dave found success with a black Zoom Finesse Worm thrown on a 1/8 ounce weight. Dave wished to thank Rich for an enjoyable day and Bill Wilson for all of his help in locating fish. Dave received the third place Co-Angler Division prize of $335.

Rounding out the rest of the top Co-Angler Division finishers was John Erickson in fourth place with a three fish weighing 7.82 pounds, worth $244; and Keith Love and Frank Hutchinson tied for fifth place with two and three fish, respectively, weighing 5.66 pounds; worth $152.50 each.

Miscellaneous Notes

1. In all, there were 16 five-fish limits brought to the scales and 172 fish totaling 475.74 pounds were weighed in. All fish were released alive. The 2.77 pounds per fish average shows the quality of fish that can be caught in the fertile waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

2. By virtue of being the second and third highest placing eligible Ranger Boat owners, Mike Hart and Bob Kowitski will receive $300 and $100, respectively, in Ranger Cup bonus money.

3. An extra $600 ($300 per Division) in prize money was added to the purse for this event by the Federation Board of Directors. The same amount will be added to each of the remaining four point tournaments.

4. Please take note that any angler who competes in all five regular Federation tournaments this season is eligible to win one of four $500 prizes to be raffled off at the season-ending Greenwood Lake event.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 26, 2008) – Brian Travis of Conover, N.C., a 30-year-old supervisor for Southeastern Freight Line, is now “Living the Dream” after catching five bass weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces on the final day of The Bass

Brian Travis

Brian Travis

Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard Saturday on Lake Wylie. He captured the TBF National Championship title with a three-day total catch of 15 bass weighing 45 pounds, 9 ounces.

For his victory Travis received a $100,000 prize package that includes automatic entry into the $1 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American presented by Chevy on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., May 29-31 and automatic entry into the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17, where the top pro can pocket as much as $1 million – the biggest award in bass fishing.

“This is an unbelievable feeling, a dream come true,” said Travis, who represents the Southern Division and fishes Lake Wylie on a regular basis. “I look forward to the future and my fishing career with FLW Outdoors.

Travis started his fishing Saturday near Seven Oaks Creek on a spot that he had not fished in two years. He estimates that he had three fish in the boat, including his biggest, by 9:30 a.m. He used an array of lures, including 4-inch green-pumpkin lizards, Yum crawfish and Shooter jigs, while sight-fishing and covering a lot of water.

“This is the best executed tournament that I have ever fished,” he said. “I had a good feeling that this was my time to win.”

In addition to incredibly lucrative championship berths, Travis also received $10,000 and a “prize package that includes use of a “Living the Dream” wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha, sponsor merchandise and entry fees into the 2009 Wal-Mart FLW Tour or Wal-Mart FLW Series to compete against the world’s top bass anglers.

Anglers from six nationwide TBF divisions competed during 2007 and qualified through a series of TBF club, TBF state and TBF divisional tournaments to compete in the no-entry-fee TBF National Championship.

“I think everyone should join the TBF,” Travis said. “It has so much to offer, and look where it got me.”

Travis started the tournament Thursday in first place with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces. He retained his lead Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 16-06 that bumped his two-day total to 31-04 going into the final day of competition.

Rounding out the boater field were Ronald Hobbs Jr. of Graham, Wash. (Western Division, 15 bass, 38-11, $5,000); Tom Belinda of Hollidaysburg, Pa. (Mid-Atlantic Division, 15 bass, 36-07, $2,500); Robert Crino of South Royalton, Vt. (Eastern Division, 14 bass, 33-12, $2,500); Terry McWilliams of Greenfield, Ind. (Northern Division, 15 bass, 30-01, $2,500); and Don Owens of Ponca City, Okla. (Central Division, 11 bass, 25-11, $2,500). Each of these boaters will also advance to the All-American.

Overall there were 25 bass weighing 56 pounds, 4 ounces caught by six boaters. The catch included four five-bass limits.

Hobbs also won a 519VX Ranger Comanche powered by Yamaha as the highest finishing Ranger Cup participant.

Craig Fredrychowski

Craig Fredrychowski

Bill Roberts of Fairfax, Va., entered the final round of co-angler competition with a 3-ounce lead but fell to third after catching just one bass weighing 1-pound, 10 ounces. The Mid-Atlantic Division angler earned $1,000 for the finish with a total of 11 bass weighing 23-05. His stumble opened the door for Craig Fredrychowski of Lexington, S.C., representing the Southern Division.

Fredrychowski overcame a 2-pound, 7-ounce deficit on the final day thanks to a five-bass limit weighing 7-07 that boosted his three-day total to 14 bass weighing 26-11, good for a $10,000 prize package that includes co-angler entry into the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup for a chance to fish for as much as $50,000. He also earned a berth into the All-American along with the top co-angler from each TBF division for a chance to fish for as much as $70,000.

“I can’t believe that I am qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup,” Fredrychowski said. “This is a dream come true for me. It absolutely means the world to me. This is just the start of something good.

“This week I had great partners, and I owe everything to them. They taught me a lot this week and allowed me to catch some good fish.”

Fredrychowski caught his fish throwing a shaky head and covering a lot of water on Lake Wylie.

Rounding out the co-angler field were Ben Gross of Kingman, Ariz. (Western Division, 11 bass, 23-11, $2,500); Hoyt Akins of Mayflower, Ark. (Central Division, 11 bass, 22-8, $1,000); Brian Belke of New Lenox, Ill. (Northern Division, 10 bass, 22-05, $1,000) and Tim Austin of Williston, Vt. (Eastern Division, nine bass, 20-05, $1,000).

Overall there were 12 bass weighing 21 pounds, 10 ounces caught by six co-anglers. The catch included one five-bass limit.

The entire field of 40 TBF boaters and 40 co-anglers fished Thursday and Friday for an accumulated two-day weight. The top boater and co-angler from each of the TBF’s six divisions advanced to Saturday’s final round, where the winners were determined by the heaviest three-day accumulated weight.

Coverage of the TBF National Championship presented by the National Guard will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on June 8 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.

Tournament anglers aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

The Bass Federation Inc. (TBF) is owned by those it serves and is dedicated to the sport of fishing. TBF affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 fishing, youth and conservation events at the local level each year and have provided the foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 30 years. For more information about The Bass Federation, visit or call (580) 765-9031.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit