The Toyota Texas Bass Classic began this morning on Lake Conroe, 40 minutes north of Houston. In its short six-year history, it has quickly become considered one of the greatest events in all of professional bass fishing by top pros like Kelly Jordon, Gerald Swindle, and Terry Scroggins.
The three-day tournament invites the top 15 anglers from the Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW, and PAA trails to compete against one another for a top prize of $100,000 cash, plus a new boat.
Held each autumn, it’s actually far more than a tournament. It’s an outdoor event that includes several vendor booths in a fair-like venue, plus, each day’s weigh-in is followed by a concert from a top country artist. This year’s concert line-up includes Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan and Jake Owen. A final punctuation to its quality is that proceeds benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and its youth outdoor programs.
The event was born through Gulf States Toyota’s desire to host an event that would raise conservation funds to assure the continued reputation of great bass fishing that Texas is famous for. That’s when top Texas pro Kelly Jordon loaned a proud hand and his wisdom to help Gulf States Toyota plan the first TTBC held on Lake Fork in 2007.
Today, Jordon takes great pride in how the TTBC has gained the respect of his pro angling peers, and the fun it provides to fishing fans that love country music. “The midway with all the vendor booths is outstanding, plus everybody loves the concerts,” said Jordon, who packs more songs in his smartphone than most radio stations. “If fans manage to take in the midway, the weigh-in and the concert all in one day, I’d say they’ve really accomplished something,” grinned the 42-year-old, who has caught more daily big bass than anyone else in Bassmaster Elite Series history.
Speaking of big bass, the chance to catch a 9-pounder on any cast is never out of the question on Lake Conroe, and 2004 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle ranks big bass as one of his favorite things about the TTBC. “I love the fact that all three major pro circuits send their top guys to compete against one another, and I love the fact that this lake has some giants swimming in it,” said Swindle. “Plus, I’m a music lover, so the concerts put the icing on the cake each day.”
Swindle’s roommate Terry “Big Show” Scroggins asks what’s not to love about the TTBC. “How can you not see it as one of the greatest events in our sport?” asked the jovial Floridian, who has won more than a million-and-a-half dollars in his rather short career.
“First off, we have the best anglers from all three major pro tours competing here, there’s no entry fee, no points on the line, so it’s kind of laid back and filled with camaraderie, but yet we’re fishing for $100,000,” said Scroggins.
“I love everything about the TTBC,” said Scroggins. “You practice hard here, you fish hard here, and whether you catch ’em or not, you get to go to a great concert at the end of the day,” he concluded. “’About the only bad thing I can think of is that they have a bunch of cowboy boots for sale around here, and my girlfriend loves cowboy boots. Now, that can cost a man a lot of money,” laughed “Big Show.”
To get all the details, and a schedule of events for the goodness these three experienced pros speak of check out www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com.