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BASS Slam: The Angler's Ultimate Challenge

The Challenge
Every bass angler loves a good challenge. Can I land my jig within an inch of that stickup? Can I catch a 10-pounder? Can I find a secluded fishing hole where bass have never seen an artificial bait? Will my pattern give me enough weight to win my club tourney? The list is endless.

Meeting these challenges, along with the excitement of the bite and fight of a bass, is what motivates us to hit the water. Although many anglers love the competitive side of bass fishing, others prefer their challenges to be more personal, internal. Well, the editors of Bassmaster Magazine have created what may well be the ultimate goal of all bass anglers, tourney pros and weekend Joes, alike.

Enter the BASS Slam. If you are familiar with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), you will immediately understand the concept. The NWTF requires hunters to harvest every species of turkey in the U.S. to complete its Grand Slam. There also are "slams" in the saltwater world. A Key West Slam, for example, requires an angler to catch a tarpon, bonefish and permit. The BASS Slam is very similar, but simply focuses on all members of the black bass family.

Many anglers will be surprised to learn that there are eight members of the bass clan. All sunfish (bass are in the sunfish family) beginning with the scientific name Micropterus qualify as bass. Several of these species are likely within a stone's throw of your garage. Others, however, will require travel. To complete a BASS Slam, anglers must catch every species of black bass in the United States. There are no limitations on the type of tackle or bait you can use. If you prefer to use live bait on a cane pole, go for it. However, we have set minimum lengths, which reflect an average size for each species, and the bass must be released alive.

Qualifying for the Prize
To qualify for a BASS Slam, anglers must take a photo of each bass lying flat on a measuring board, as well as a photo holding each fish, and fill out an application stating particulars about the catch, including location and date. (Download the application at www.bassmaster.com/slam or call 800-BASS-USA to request an application.) Once you have completed the Slam, mail all photos and applications to Bassmaster Magazine, Attn: BASS Slam, P.O. Box 10000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 or e-mail to
editorial@bassmaster.com.

The contest will run from July 1, 2009, to July 1, 2010. All anglers who catch a Slam will receive a certificate and will be pictured in Bassmaster Magazine. (Remember to document each catch with a good camera!) Besides the pride of personal achievement, the angler who submits the largest Slam of the Year will receive special recognition and the Editors Award. To determine the Slam of the Year, the inches of each fish will be added together. Past catches will not be accepted for the contest — every fish must be caught between the dates mentioned above to qualify for a prize. However, if your Slam takes more than a year to complete, you will still receive a certificate of achievement and will be pictured in Bassmaster Magazine. To get you started, we've included illustrations of each species you need to catch, where you can find the fish, and the standard you must reach in order to qualify. Note that there are hybrids of each species, but for clarification purposes, anglers will be expected to land the targeted species within the jurisdiction stated beneath each illustration. We will be profiling each member of the Micropterus family in upcoming issues of Bassmaster, starting this month on page 39.

It is safe to say the number of anglers who have achieved this feat is minimal. Those who attain this goal will be part of an elite group of bass anglers. So, are you up for the challenge?