Bassmaster College Championship heads to Pickwick Lake

The country's top college teams will compete on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tenn., August 10-12 at the 2023 Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The 2023 national championship for the hugely popular Bassmaster
College Series will be decided on the renowned waters of Pickwick Lake, Tennessee. The 2023 Strike King Bassmaster College National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops will head to Counce, Tenn., August 10-12.

This is the first time since 2018 the College Series will compete on Pickwick Lake and the first time that the circuit has launched from the eastern edge of the 43,000-acre impoundment of the Tennessee River, which has hosted an Elite Series event and the Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX over the past year. 

“Hosting such a big tournament for B.A.S.S. really puts us on the map as a fishing destination. It’s good for our economy, restaurants, lodging and small businesses,” said Beth Pippin, Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau director of tourism. “We are excited to welcome Bassmaster back to Pickwick, Tennessee!” 

Pickwick offers vast opportunities for anglers, with a good mix of offshore fishing and shallow structure and solid populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass. Beautiful scenery paired with a chance to catch a trophy trifecta — smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass of above-average size — are why the fishery was ranked one of the Southeast’s Best Bass Lakes on Bassmaster Magazine’s 2022 100 Best Bass Lakes list.

As many as 130 teams of anglers representing universities across the nation will converge on Counce for the event. Qualifications are based on the teams’ finishes in four regular-season stops held on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes, Cherokee Lake in Tennessee, Virginia’s James River and the Red River in Louisiana. A final Wild Card tournament on Alabama’s Lay Lake gives teams waitlisted for the other events one last chance to make it into the championship field.

“We’re excited to offer college anglers an incredible championship tournament experience,” said Glenn Cale, tournament manager for the College, High School and Junior Series. “I am thrilled that we are able to get these young anglers onto this extraordinary fishery as they compete for a national title and a chance to fish the Classic.”

Competitors will not only be fighting for a national championship but also a berth in the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota via the College Classic Bracket tournament. 

As the 2023 Bassmaster College Team of the Year, Easton Fothergill and Nick Dumke from the University of Montevallo have already punched their ticket to the College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s, which will be held later this year. The College Classic Bracket takes the Top 3 teams from the National Championship plus the Team of the Year and allows individual anglers to compete head-to-head in bracket-style competition for a berth in the Classic, where they will compete for a prize purse of over $1 million.

The 2022 College Classic Bracket champion Louis Monetti, part of the UNC Charlotte Team of the Year, became just the third college qualifier in history to make the Championship Sunday cut at the Bassmaster Classic earlier this year, finishing 23rd.

The 2023 Strike King Bassmaster College National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops is being hosted by Tour Hardin County.