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#06-38 February 13, 2006

National bass tourney weigh-in set at Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic

The National Striped Bass Association, headquartered in South Carolina, has scheduled its Tournament of Champions on Lake Murray to coincide with the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic being held at the S.C. State Fairgrounds March 24-26. The tournament is open to all who wish to participate.
           
The two-day tournament will take place on Lake Murray Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26. Saturday’s tournament fishing will include a Fun Tournament for beginners, a Saturday Competition Tournament for those interested in a higher level of competition, and the Striperfest Super-tournament with a Saturday and Sunday competition. Weigh-ins will take place on stage at the Classic Saturday starting at 3 p.m. and again on Sunday starting at 3 p.m. at the state fairgrounds.
           
Anglers may register at the S.C. Electric & Gas landing at Lake Murray Dam, site of the tournament, on Friday evening March 24 from 6-8 p.m. and again from 5-7 a.m. on Saturday morning, and also on Saturday morning at Dreher Island State Park Tournament facility from 5-7 a.m.  For more information, visit the National Striped Bass Association Web site at www.fishnsba.com.
           
For more information on the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, call the S.C. Department of Natural Resources office at (803) 734-4008 in Columbia or visit the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic Web site at www.psclassic.com.           

The National Striped Bass Association Professional Gold Cup Series Anglers will attempt to keep its catch of striped bass alive in specially fashioned striped bass release tubes designed by Warren Turner and Bill Haire of the National Striped Bass Association. The Professional Series Anglers must weigh their catch alive at the Classic weigh-site or lose valuable bonus points that lead to the Striped Bass Classic Championship and the Elite-40 Team-of-the-Year.

The DNR will assist the National Striped Bass Association by transporting the live fish to the Congaree River for release after the close of the event on Sunday evening. Lake Murray does not have the habitat to allow spawning of striped bass in any numbers, but these striped bass released into the Congaree River will be introduced to a naturally reproducing striped bass fishery, one of only five nationwide in landlocked striped bass. It is logical that many of these striped bass may participate a few weeks later in their first successful spawning activity.
           
“Striped bass are fragile and cannot be held and released easily like largemouth bass,” said Turner. “The National Striped Bass Association promotes live release tournament angling, and these release tubes are revolutionizing the way we conduct our competitive events. In all except the hottest months, the fish we’ve released in our tournaments appear to be livelier than when landed. In fact, they are so lively they're often difficult to handle during the weigh-in process.” DNR studies by Jason Bettinger, of the DNR Fishery Research Center, along with a graduate research project completed by Shawn Young in December 2005, have proven that the striper tubes have a high level of success during the cooler periods.
           
Admission to the 2006 Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic is $6, and parking is $1. Seniors 60 and over get in for $5 while children 10 and under are admitted free. Visitors bringing five canned food items for Harvest Hope Food Bank receive $1 off admission. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, March 24; from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic is sponsored by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, WCOS-FM Radio, WIS-TV and South Carolina Wildlife magazine. The Hampton Fund uses proceeds for natural resources conservation projects in South Carolina, such as Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs; Operation Game Thief; Project WILD; and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman.           

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