By this time next week, I’ll be in Las Vegas acting like a kid in a toy store.
Thousands of representatives of the sportfishing industry will be showcasing the latest in sportfishing equipment and accessories at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 46th annual International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, or ICAST, the American Sportfishing Association’s premier trade event.
The world’s largest sportfishing exposition, which will take place on a show floor that’s 209,000 square feet, will feature new products making their marketplace debut. About half the 320 exhibiting companies have entered hundreds of their latest product innovations in ICAST’s Best of Show competition as part of the New Product Showcase, the flagship feature of ICAST.
Unfortunately for the general public, ICAST is a tradeonly event. However, 250 representatives of the outdoor media, including me, are registered to attend and report back to you on what we see and hear about what’s new for the coming season.
MAKING HIS MARK
If you are involved in the sport of bass fishing in Arizona, chances are good that you are familiar with the tournament exploits of John Murray of Phoenix.
After years of being one of the biggest fishing stars out West, the 38-year-old Arizona pro’s consistency is commanding attention on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer. By hanging among the leaders in the Busch BASS Angler of the Year standings, Murray earned his second consecutive trip to the coveted CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Aug. 1-3, in New Orleans.
Murray has fished the West for the last 17 or 18 years. Living in Arizona and Nevada, he has fished all of the circuits out here for years, then tried the Bassmaster circuit in 1992 and 1993. However, it was expensive and involved too much travel, something that has caused other West Coast bass pros to move east. So he went back to fishing on the West Coast.
Murray has won numerous tournaments and Angler of the Year titles from a variety of western circuits. Over the years, he has won 30 prize boats and vehicles, and pocketed more than $1 million. Competing on the Bassmaster Tour became the next logical career step for him.
He decided two years ago to make another run at the Classic, one of his biggest goals for years. Last year was his first full year on the tour. He finished 29th in the standings and made his first Classic.
"It was one of the highest moments of my life as far as my fishing career. I had a great experience at the Classic and ended up 14th. I’m excited about going back," says Murray.
His goal during the 2003 Bassmaster Tour season was to catch a limit of bass on each and every competition day. That strategy enabled him to finish fifth in the Busch BASS Angler of the Year race and earn a solid place in this year’s Classic show.
CAMPGROUND FEE CHANGE
The Tonto Basin Ranger District has made some slight changes in camping fees to simplify the fee structure and provide more consistency for the public. Apparently, there was some confusion about the camping fees charged at the developed campgrounds at Roosevelt and Apache lakes.
The new fee for single developed sites at Roosevelt and Apache lakes is $10 per night. The new fee for double sites is $15 per night. Golden Age and Golden Access Passport holders will continue to pay half of camping fees.
The campground fee change is effective immediately at Burnt Corral at Apache Lake; and Cholla, Windy Hill, Schoolhouse and Indian Point campgrounds at Roosevelt Lake.
The day-use fees for boat launching and the fees for undeveloped recreation sites such as Bachelor Cove, Cholla Bay and Bermuda Flat at Roosevelt and Upper Burnt Corral at Apache will remain at the current rate of $4 per vehicle per day and $2 per watercraft per day.
Roosevelt has concrete ramps open for launching at the marina and the Cholla and Windy Hill recreation sites. Apache has concrete ramps open at the marina and the Burnt Corral Recreation Site.
For additional information, contact the Tonto Basin Ranger District at (928) 467-3200.