For amateur anglers, fall weekends are critical in their quest to get to the Bassmaster Classic.
Now is the time of year when the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, gets down to the nitty gritty.
The one amateur qualifier to the Classic won’t be determined until the 2011 championship Nov. 9-12 on Lake Santee Cooper, but the events to get there are going on in earnest.
Each of the 20 divisions hold four one-day events, some starting as early as January, that lead up to a two-day divisional championship, several of which were recently completed. From there, the top anglers advance to one of four Regional Championships.
The Northeast Regional kicks things off Sept. 30 on Lake Erie out of Buffalo, N.Y. The Southern Regional is the following week on Tensaw Delta out of Mobile, Ala., then the Southeast and South Central Regionals, on Kentucky Lake and the Red River, respectively, are Oct. 14-15.
The top 40 from each complete the 160-boat field to fish Santee Cooper, where the winner of the four-day tournament will secure a big check and a berth to fish in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
Last year that fortunate amateur was Ryan McMurtury, who took home a $100,000 check and fished the Louisiana Delta Classic, where he received another $10,000.