BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — College anglers looking to challenge themselves on the same fisheries as the pros can start making their plans now as officials unveiled the four regular-season stops and Wild Card tournament location for the 2023 Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops.
“We’re excited about how this schedule sets up to test college anglers on the same waters where the Elites and Opens pros are proving themselves,” said Glenn Cale, tournament manager for the Bassmaster College Series. “Whether they’re catching a record-breaking bag, grinding out a limit or learning the rhythms of a tidal river, anglers are going to experience a really diverse group of fisheries. The anglers who ultimately win the Team of the Year title will have really earned it … but we’ll be having a lot of fun too.”
For the second year, the Bassmaster College Series will open at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Fla., Jan. 26-27. As most early-season Florida events are, the tournament should be dominated by hefty prespawn and spawning largemouth.
From there, the series will feature four events in four states from March through June. The schedule will continue with an event on Cherokee Lake in Jefferson County, Tenn., March 31-April 1, followed by tournaments on the James River in Richmond, Va., April 21-22, and the Red River in Natchitoches, La., May 4-5. Those teams who register but remain on the waitlist for the four regular-season events will enjoy an opportunity to qualify for the College National Championship via the Wild Card tournament on Alabama’s Lay Lake June 9-10.
Andrew Vereen and Connor Cartmell of Coastal Carolina University leveraged an eighth-place finish at the Wild Card event to qualify for the Bassmaster College Series National Championship on Winyah Bay, which the duo won in front of a raucous home crowd.
The College Team of the Year and Top 3 teams from the National Championship will battle for a spot in the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic via the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket, a head-to-head, elimination-style tournament. Louis Monetti, from UNC Charlotte, took the win at the 2022 Bassmaster College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s.
The dates and locations of the 2023 National Champions and College Bracket will be announced at a later time.
“Success as college anglers has translated to solid young careers for guys like Patrick Walters, Brandon Card, Tyler Rivet and Austin Felix on the Elites, and I think it’s just a matter of time before the majority of the Elite field will have some kind of experience in our youth programs,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Chase Anderson. “That is why B.A.S.S. is so excited to offer opportunities like national exposure on FOX Sports during the College Classic Bracket to these competitors. But it is also why we’re dedicated to growing college fishing through innovative programs — like the Abu Garcia High School Combine presented by Skeeter — that help high school anglers connect with college fishing programs.”
The events have been a valuable tool for encouraging youth fishing participation across the country, and they’re having a pronounced effect on the highest levels of professional bass fishing. Since B.A.S.S. started the circuit, there has been a 97% growth in the number of participating schools and clubs at the college level with more than 130 B.A.S.S.-affiliated college clubs.
Registration for the 2023 Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops season opens online December 1 at 3 p.m. CT. For more information on the series, visit Bassmaster.com/College.
2023 Bassmaster College regular-season schedule
January 26-27, Harris Chain of Lakes, Leesburg, Fla.
March 31-April 1, Cherokee Lake, Jefferson County, Tenn.
April 21-22, James River, Richmond, Va.
May 4-5, Red River, Natchitoches, La.
2023 College Series Wild Card
June 9-10, Lay Lake, Shelby County, Ala.