The 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship will be held on Louisiana’s Ouachita River, Nov. 6-8, B.A.S.S. announced today.
The world’s best amateur anglers will convene in Monroe, La., as each of the contenders vies for a spot in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
The venue was also the site of the 2011 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, which Alabama’s Jamie Horton won. By virtue of his victory, Horton earned an invitation to compete on the Bassmaster Elite Series, where he’s still competing today.
“It’s always good to go back to Monroe,” said Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Nation director. “The host and the community really make us feel welcome.”
“Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau is excited to bring the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship back to Monroe and the Ouachita River,” said Scott Bruscato of the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“The community will once again rally around this event and make the anglers, vendors and B.A.S.S. fans feel welcome and appreciated as they come to Monroe to fish in this elite tournament.”
The championship is the goal of anglers all over the world who qualify through their respective division. The contenders come to represent each of 47 states, one province (Ontario, Canada) and eight countries.
“Australia and Namibia, our two newest nations, will likely send their first competitors to this year’s championship,” Stewart said. Both countries joined the B.A.S.S. Nation in early 2014. Other countries that are represented at the championship are Japan, Mexico, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Italy and Spain.
Another country may send a qualifier, too. Portugal is working on finalizing its status as a B.A.S.S. Nation chapter. If it becomes an official member of the B.A.S.S. Nation in time, Portugal will also have a contender in the championship.
The only contender who is currently qualified to compete in the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship is Jeff Lugar of Virginia, who will be defending his title from 2013. Other competitors will qualify by winning their state or nation in upcoming divisionals. Also, the Paralyzed Veterans of America Tour will send its Angler of the Year winner to compete.
Jamie Horton won the three-day event on Ouachita in 2011 with only 36 pounds, 2 ounces over a three-day period, beating his nearest competitor by nearly 5 pounds.
“It’s a large, expansive fishery with a lot of backwaters,” Stewart said. Horton’s victory came from an area more than an hour away from the launch site. His ride included several skims over thin water that other anglers avoided because it was too low.
The first batch of anglers to win their berth in the championship will come this week, when the B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional takes place on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula, April 16-18. The final group of anglers to qualify will be decided months later in New York for the Eastern Divisional in September.
Official practice for the championship will be Nov. 4 and 5.
The winner of each division at the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship will be invited to compete in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic in Greenville, S.C. Six spots in the world championship of bass fishing are allocated to the B.A.S.S. Nation.
“It’s going to be another great year for the B.A.S.S. Nation,” Stewart added. “Competing in the B.A.S.S. Nation is a great way to learn the sport from others, and it’s one of the only ways an amateur can qualify to compete in the pinnacle of the sport, the Bassmaster Classic.”
Stay tuned to Bassmaster.com to see who the contenders will be in the 2014 championship.