Thousands of fishing fans are heading north to the St. Lawrence River this weekend for the Bassmasters Elite Series tournament, the top professional tour for bass anglers.
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo showed up to do some cheering of his own.
Waddington’s Whittaker Park has become a village of food and craft stands and tackle shops to accommodate the 10,000 Bassmasters fans expected this weekend.
The main stage is where the anglers weigh in their catch each afternoon at 3 p.m. And that’s where Cuomo took the stage, the championship trophy to his left.
"St. Lawrence County and Waddington, they reeled in the big one today when they brought Bassmasters Elite Series here," he said to a cheering crowd.
Cuomo said fishing is a $1.8 billion a year industry in New York state.
"So it’s real jobs, it’s real economic development. Tourism is going up year to year. We’re up 6 percent," the governor boasted. "With events like this and this kind of exposure and the good work of Waddington and St. Lawrence, you’re going to see that growth even higher."
Cuomo announced that the Finger Lakes region will host a Bassmasters Elite tournament next year. And it will be the site for next year’s Governor’s Challenge, which was a whitewater rafting event in the Adirondacks this year.