Good times at the Bassmaster Classic Celebrity Pro-Am

What do you get when you pair up pro anglers from the Bassmaster Elite Series and 10 celebrities to spend the day together in a bass fishing tournament? The correct answer is a really good time and a lot of smiles.

The Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors is the biggest celebration of the sport of bass fishing, and the celebration got even bigger in 2024 with the introduction of the Bassmaster Classic Progressive Celebrity Pro-Am presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Just one day before the start of the Bassmaster Classic, 10 celebrities teamed up with Bassmaster Elite Series pros to compete in the first annual Bassmaster Classic Celebrity Pro-Am for a chance to win an extraordinary prize pack that included a Tracker 175 bass boat, a set of Yokohama Tires, Bass Pro Shops gift card, Dakota Lithium Power Box 10, YETI Camino Bag, Marathon Gas gift card, St. Croix rods, SEVIIN reels, Mustang Survival PFD and rain jacket as well as swag from Bassmaster, HUK and Jockey Outdoors.

The celebrity anglers included NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss, Country Music Star Koe Wetzel, motorsports competitor and stunt performer Travis Pastrana, NASCAR Driver Ross Chastain, Whiskey Myers lead singer Cody Cannon, internet sensation Hood Fishing Entertainment, Barstool Sports personality Sydnie Wells, former NFL defensive end Brian Robison, current NFL linebacker Patrick Queen and former MLB All-Star Michael Brantley.

The star-studded lineup of celebrities teamed up with Elite Series pros Rick Clunn, Chris Zaldain, Scott Martin, Seth Feider, Matty Wong, Jamie Hartman, John Soukup and Logan Parks. Using the Tourney-X scoring system, the event was scored based on total length.

All 10 teams set out on Skiatook Lake just north of Tulsa, Okla., in hopes of taking home the title, but Bassmaster Elite Series pro Chris Zaldain and Hood Fishing Entertainment came out victorious with a total of 64.75 inches.

Chris Zaldain and Hood Fishing Entertainment pose with their Celebrity Pro-Am Championship belts.

Not knowing what to expect headed into the event, Chris Zaldain was blown away by the experience.

“The thing that was really cool was the event really showed that fishing brings us all together,” said the eight-time Classic Qualifier. “Despite the fame that all the celebrities have, I never felt nervous about it because fishing brought us all together on the same level.

“My experience with Hood Fishing Entertainment was awesome. At first, I didn’t really know a lot about him, but as soon as I got his contact info, I texted him and told him we were going to win this tournament.”

It didn’t take long for Zaldain to realize how good of an angler Hood Fishing Entertainment was, and once the first fish was in the boat, they were off and running.

“About five minutes into the morning, I could tell that he knew what he was doing and that we were going to catch them,” he said. “He was such a respectable dude and overall, it was such a great experience.”

Matty Wong and Koe Wetzel show off a nice Skiatook Lake largemouth bass.

Another angler that was blown away by the camaraderie the pro anglers and celebrities shared was Matty Wong, who was teamed up with country music superstar Koe Wetzel.

“I was super excited to be a part of the Celebrity Pro-Am, especially when I saw the names of the celebrity participants,” said Wong. “It was really cool to see people come in from all different types of professions and come together because of our love of angling.

“Koe was such a nice guy, and we instantly hit it off. He was a really good angler, and I could tell as soon as his competitive side came out that we were going to have a fun day.”

Randy Moss and Rick Clunn discuss their day at the podium.

Across every team that competed in the event, it was amazing to see two individuals team up to compete despite coming from different backgrounds and different professions. This couldn’t have been truer than when considering the team of legendary Rick Clunn and NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss. Both considered by many to be the greatest of all time at their respective craft, Clunn is a master at catching bass and Moss is a master of catching passes.

“Sharing my boat with NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss was an enjoyable experience,” said Clunn. “His competitive drive was obvious in the few hours we spent together in the tournament, and he shares my passion for bass fishing.”

As was evident in talking to the pro anglers who participated in the event, the Bassmaster Classic Celebrity Pro-Am was a massive success in its first year.