Without a doubt, the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk at Lake Guntersville with weigh-ins in Birmingham, Ala., is set to be a big show with plenty to see and do. Especially significant is the fact that this will be the 50th occurance of the most prestigious fishing tournament on the planet, which will have the industry and fans at fever pitch as the countdown to the event winds down.
There will be plenty to do in conjunction with the event throughout the weekend of March 6-8. A bass fishing fan can take in everything from start to finish at the historic event. Someone could start their weekend with takeoff on Friday morning at 7 a.m. at Civitan Park in Guntersville, and end with the final weigh-in and the eventual champion holding the trophy aloft at the Legacy Arena located at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) on Sunday evening. In between all of those scheduled events, there is The Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo at the BJCC to visit vendors, meet anglers and see new products from industry manufacturers.
For a complete schedule of events and maps to all the venues, you can find links to all of the information here.
But, the Birmingham-through-Guntersville corridor offers much in the way of food, fun and scenery for anglers and their families who attend the Classic.
Travel between sites
The drive between Lake Guntersville and downtown Birmingham is easy, and fans wishing to see takeoff in the morning, visit the Classic Expo during the day, then attend weigh-in can travel on highways to and from both venues.
The BJCC is conveniently located adjacent to the newly completed highway 20/59 in downtown Birmingham. The easiest drive takes fans northeast on Highway 59 to Gadsden, then connects on Highway 431 north, directly to the host city of Guntersville.
For fans who attend takeoff each day, B.A.S.S. sponsors Skeeter/Yamaha and Triton, Nitro and Mercury will be providing demo rides in their vessels as soon as the Classic competitors have blasted off onto competition waters. Fans can ride in each company’s newest models, which could help with a purchase decision, or just to experience some of the finest bass boats available in the market today.
Between the venues are excellent restaurants, coffee shops, shopping and scenery for fans and families to partake in and see.
Outside of being home to the Tennessee River and one of the most famous fisheries in the world, Guntersville has great food and shopping along the way. The downtown area has many classic boutiques to get one-of-a-kind clothing and household items and restaurants that folks could make a week out of visiting.
Among the best places to eat lunch and dinner in Guntersville are Wintzell’s Oyster House located near the Spring Creek Causeway on Highway 431, and Top O’ the River, located across Spring Creek. A great breakfast spot is The Rock House, located on southbound Highway 431 as you head out of town. There are also a large number of national chain restraunts for breakfast, lunch and dinner located on the main drag in and out of town. For people looking for a great cup of coffee, cappuccino or mocha, there's Jamoka’s Coffee Company, downtown, or on Highway 431 in Albertville as well.
For a complete listing of things to do in Guntersville visit MarshallCountyCVB.com.
Located smack in the middle of the venues, Gadsden offers a nice stopover while traveling between Guntersville and Birmingham. Scheduled to host a Bassmaster Open on Neely Henry Lake at Coosa Landing downtown May 21-23, Gadsden offers great dining and shopping downtown on Broad Street, and one of Alabama’s most picturesque waterfalls – Noccalula Falls – is located in Gadsden. Gadsden could also serve as a great place to stay that is in even driving distance for fans who wish to attend events at Lake Guntersville and the BJCC.
For more info about the Gadsden area visit GreaterGadsden.com.
The host city for the 50th Bassmaster Classic and the Bassmaster Classic Expo, Birmingham has many things to do and places to stay in the downtown area, or the areas adjacent to downtown. Birmingham is famous for its barbecue at places like Dreamland BBQ and Jim 'n' Nick’s Bar-B-Q close to downtown, and of course there are countless excellent cuisine choices for all tastes and diets throughout the area.
For extra activities to do along with the Bassmaster Classic, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is located in the BJCC complex, and taking a few minutes to tour the museum on Friday before entering the Expo will give sports fans a chance to experience Alabama’s rich athletic history.
Of course, Birmingham offers tremendous after-hours opportunities for people looking to enjoy a beverage and live music after the daily weigh-ins. The downtown area provides easy access by foot, cab or Uber rides to all of these opportunities.
To plan your visit to Birmingham around the 50th Bassmaster Classic activities, visit BirminghamAL.org.
The Super Bowl of Bass Fishing looks to be an amazing event, and with a little planning, fans can experience the greatest show in the sport, and a little local flavor to go with it.