BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Some of America’s best bass fishing waters will play host to competitors in the 2013 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Nation divisionals.
In fact, three of the fisheries are in the Top 20 on Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes, a list of the best waters for bass anglers.
Anglers who have qualified for the divisionals for the upcoming year will have the great fortune to compete on these lakes, and the top competitor from each state will advance to the 2013 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
“As you can see from the schedule, it’s going to be an exciting season, spanning from coast to coast,” said Jon Stewart, senior manager of the B.A.S.S. Nation. “We start in Clear Lake, where the anglers have the chance to catch 70, 80 or even 90 pounds in three days. And we have some great smallmouth fisheries with Erie and Francis Case.
“We’re looking forward to getting the season started in April,” Stewart added.
The first divisional of the season is the 2013 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional in Lakeport, Calif., on the famed Clear Lake, April 8-12. This fishery has hosted several major B.A.S.S. tournaments in the past decade, most notably the Bassmaster Elite Series Golden State Shootout in April 2007 when Steve Kennedy broke the record for a four-day B.A.S.S. tournament weight, with 122 pounds, 14 ounces. (The record was later broken on Texas’ Falcon Lake.)
Clear Lake is No. 10 on the list of Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes, and catch rates on the lake are the highest in the state, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.
Two weeks later, Tennessee hosts competitors in the 2013 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional, April 24-26. Douglas Lake in Dandridge will be the site of the tournament, just three weeks after the 2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Opens visits the fishery. Douglas also hosted the Bassmaster Elite Series in May 2012, where winner Jeremy Starks’ long lining technique made headlines. He won with a four-day weight of 81 pounds, 2 ounces.
In June, competitors in the 2013 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional will go to Lufkin, Texas, to ply the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Rayburn, which is listed as No. 19 on Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes, has played host to several B.A.S.S. events. One of those was a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament in March 2006 when Greg Hackney won with 79 pounds, 10 ounces.
Next up is Lake Erie, great for anglers who love big water — and big smallmouth. Bassmaster Magazine listed this fishery as No. 4 on the 100 Best Bass Lakes, proclaiming it the best bet for an angler looking to catch a smallie heavier than 6 pounds. The 2013 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional, which is usually held in early fall, is moving up to July 22-26, and it will be held in Erie, Pa., at Presque Isle State Park.
Erie has hosted multiple Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens and Bassmaster Elite Series events. Recent summer tournaments there were won by Kotaro Kiriyama in 2008 with 93 pounds, 6 ounces, and Edwin Evers in 2007 with 65 pounds, 7 ounces.
The fifth divisional of the season is the 2013 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional in Chamberlain, S.D., on Lake Francis Case, Aug. 26-30. B.A.S.S. has never hosted an event on Francis Case before. The Missouri River reservoir has 540 miles of shoreline and is a haven for smallmouth anglers.
Sebago Lake in Point Sebago, Maine, hosts the final event of the year, the 2013 Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Divisional, Sept. 16-20. Sebago is No. 99 on Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes, and it’s the deepest lake in Maine, 316 feet at its deepest point. It holds healthy populations of smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Each state sends a team of its top anglers to its respective divisional. The top angler from each state advances to the championship, which will be held in October or November at a site yet to be selected.
Date Divisional Fishery City, State
April 8-12 Western Clear Lake Lakeport, Calif.
April 22-26 Southern Douglas Lake Dandridge, Tenn.
June 3-7 Central Sam Rayburn Reservoir Lufkin, Texas
July 22-26 Mid-Atlantic Lake Erie Erie, Pa.
Aug. 26-30 Northern Lake Francis Case Chamberlain, S.D.
Sept. 16-20 Eastern Sebago Lake Point Sebago, Maine