Originally created 01/18/98

Women's fishing group shut down after 21 years



Bass'n Gal, the nation's No. 1 fishing organization for women, has been shut down after 21 years.

"There was a combination of things that led to my decision to quit," founder Sugar Ferris said during a Friday telephone interview.

"I'm bruised, battered, broken and grieving," she said semi-seriously. "It became almost a daily hassle to attract sponsors and many of them started to try to tell me how to run my organization.

"The decision to end the operation did not come easily, but I felt it was the best thing to do at this time."

Ferris realized there was a need for a women's professional fishing organization in this country and founded Bass'n Gal in 1976. She held annual fishing events for women on her home waters of Lake Livingston, Texas for five years prior to founding the organization.

Hers was the first bass tournament organization to set a low-creel, five-fish daily limit per angler.

It was the first organization of its kind to establish an affiliated club program where local members had to adopt one conservation and one youth fishing project in order to stay an affiliate.

It was the first national bass fishing tour in the nation to initiate "paper fish tournaments" on slot-limit lakes.

Bass'n Gal served women anglers through its national membership association via a magazine and national bass fishing tournament trail.

"My grief is for all the women of this nation who love this sport," Ferris said.

Augusta's lone Bass'n Gal tournament angler is Mary Shara Joyner, who could not be reached for comment.

"We regret to lose the great bunch of ladies who fish that trail," said Jack Wingate of Bainbridge, who played host to many Bass'n Gal tournaments at his Lunker Lodge on Georgia's Lake Seminole over the years.

FIELD TRIAL CHAMPIONS:

Kilsyth Dan, a male pointer owned by Dixie Plantation Foundation of Greenville, Fla., and handled by Fred Rayl of Sylvester, Ga., won the 48-dog Georgia Derby Championship on Di-Lane Plantation Wildlife Management Area.

Runner-up was Last Edition, a male pointer owned by Abigail Plantation, Albany, Ga., and handled by Tom Shenker of Albany.

Tradewater Fine Grit, a male pointer owned by Jim Fornear of Marion, Ky., and handled by Kevin Robinson of Marion, won the Georgia Quail Championship. Marques Gold Rush, a male pointer owned by John Ivester of Charlotte, N.C., and handled by Lefty Henry of Hoffman, N.C., was runner-up.

The championship, a part of the Georgia Field Trials, attracted 74 entries.

Expected to wind up around noon today is the Georgia Shooting Dog Derby Classic, which had a 28-dog field. To follow is the Georgia Open Shooting Dog Championship with 71 entries. It should conclude on Friday, Jan. 23.

JUST ANGLING SEMINARS:

Beginning in February and running through December, Just Angling Seminars will cover salt water fishing from piers, the surf and creeks to blue waters of the Gulf Stream. Bait, tackle, techniques, tides and seasons will be covered for small boat and offshore fishing. A fly-casting class for beginners is in the works.

Seminars are scheduled for Feb. 21, March 28, May 16, June 20, Sept. 26 and Dec. 12 at Coastal Carolina University located between Conway and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Tuition is $25 for adults and $10 for students under 21. Reservations are required and more information is available from 1 (803) 248-2845 (after March 1, 1 (843) 248-2845.

FISHARAMA TIME:

Humorist Fish Fishburne and veteran bass fisherman Bill Dance are among those who will take part in the Georgia Wildlife Federation's Fisharama and Duckarama Feb. 6-8 at the Atlanta Expo Center.

Check out today's Outdoor Calendar for times and details.

Dance will sign autographs on Saturday, Feb. 7. Kids under 12 fish for free at the federation trout tank and the BASS Masters CastingKids Contest will be held Friday from 1 p.m., to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 1 p.m., to 9 p.m. State finals will be held at 1 p.m., on Sunday.

The Duckarama features duck hunting products below manufacturers' costs and includes a calling contest.

The Atlanta Expo Center is just inside Interstate 285 at Exit 40. Parking is free and the building is heated.