The event known as the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” is in South Carolina this weekend.
Exactly 52 of the country’s best bass fishermen have qualified for the Bassmaster Classic world championship on Lake Hartwell. This is the third time the event has been held on Lake Hartwell after prior appearances in 2008 and 2015. League officials say the response during those years led Bassmaster to decide on a return.
“The crowds have been really fantastic and the fishing is good so there’s a lot of reasons to come back again,” B.A.S.S. Vice President of Communications Dave Precht said. “Our attendance has been good.”
An estimated 103,000 supporters attended Bassmaster Classic events in 2015. In addition to the fan support, Precht says Lake Hartwell has good bass.
“The fishing on Lake Hartwell is just really good,” he said. “The people who sponsor our tournaments are very excited. The fans really love it and it gives good exposure to the sport of bass fishing.”
“In 2015 we hit the coldest string of weather we’ve ever experienced at the Bassmaster Classic. It was about 9 or 10 degrees on the first day of competition,” he said. “It was so cold that the boats froze to the trailer bucks and it took extra time just to get them loose . . . we had tremendous fishing and most people caught limits.”
Donalds native Casey Ashley won the $300,000 championship that year, catching more than 50 pounds of bass over three days. Ashley is back in the field for his 9th classic again this year.
Fans are invited to see the anglers on the water as they take off from Green Pond Landing in Anderson. An expo will be held at TD Convention Center in Greenville. Weigh-ins will be at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville. All events are free and open to the public.
“We’re hoping that everybody in the local area will get out and get a taste of what the Classic is like,” Precht said. “I know that everyone who went to the 2015 Classic will already be making plans to be there. It’s that much fun.”
Precht warned if you want to get a seat for the weigh-in, get to Bon Secours Wellness Arena early.
“I think it seats about 15,000 people but in the past we’ve had the fire marshal close down the venue after it filled up,” he said.
Another South Carolina angler competing in the Classic will be Jason Williamson of Wagener. This is his third Classic appearance.
Country music star Jason Aldean is playing a pop-up set at Friday’s weigh-in around 7:30 p.m. The show is free, but seating is first-come-first-served.