BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series will feature a pair of tournaments in the Western United States as the world’s greatest bass fishermen test their skills on the Sacramento River out of Sacramento, Calif., April 30-May 3, and Lake Havasu out of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., May 7-10. Both rank in the Top 20 of Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes, and it will be the first time since 2010 that the Elites have traveled so far west.
The two Western destinations represent the third and fourth stops of the 2015 Elite season, and both fisheries have been the sites of successful Bassmaster events in the past. B.A.S.S. held the first of eight events on the Sacramento River and California Delta in 1997. In 2007 and 2010, the Elite Series visited the Delta out of Stockton, Calif. Defending Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) Aaron Martens won the first, and eight-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier John Crews took the second. The Delta currently ranks 13th on Bassmaster’s list of the 100 Best Bass Lakes.
“It is a pleasure to welcome the Bassmaster Elite Series to Sacramento and our beautiful river,” said Mike Sophia, director of the Sacramento Sports Commission. “Sacramento plays host to the top sports events in the country, from theUSGA to USA Track and Field and NCAA events. Bringing the best anglers in the world here and highlighting the natural beauty of our destination will show all we have to offer to anglers and visitors alike.”
Coming in at No. 20 is Lake Havasu, generally considered the best desert lake in the country and a fishery that offers both largemouth and smallmouth bass. The event will be the Elite Series’ first trip to the lake and B.A.S.S.’s first stop there in more than a decade. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Cliff Pirch of Payson, Ariz., finished second in the 2003 Bassmaster Western Open at Lake Havasu, and Elite Series angler John Murray of Phoenix was eighth.
“We can all be proud that our prime fishery will be put in front of fishing fanatics all over the world,” said Doug Traub, president/CEO of the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We expect that the entire town will be packed with fans who are here to see the Top 100 anglers in the world compete for a series-wide top prize of $100,000. We also thank all of our partners who came together to bring this world-class event to Lake Havasu for the first time. It’s taken nearly two years of effort to bring the Bassmaster Elite Series back to the Western U.S.”
“We’re thrilled to bring our premier anglers and events back to the West,” said Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S. “The West offers outstanding angling, beautiful venues and first-class hospitality. The Elite Series is a national tournament circuit, and bringing it to California and Arizona gives us the opportunity to test our anglers while serving our fans and stakeholders in the area. These will be great events!
“The many thousands of B.A.S.S. members and other fans in the region will be able to see the very best anglers in the world compete on a first-rate fishery unlike any they’ve fished on since the Elite Series was launched.”
“It’s always great to travel to a new venue because we draw huge crowds,” said Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. tournament director. “Lake Havasu is a very unique spot in the country, and the fishing has really improved from what it was years ago. Our anglers are looking forward to competing out West again,” Weldon said.
There will be six other events in the 2015 Elite season plus a Toyota Bassmaster AOY Championship tournament that will crown the sport’s best angler of 2015 and send dozens of other top anglers to the 2016 Bassmaster Classic. The dates and locations of the remaining events will be announced in early September.