BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — High school and college anglers will be competing during prime fishing times on some of the premier bass fisheries in the country during the 2017 Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops tournaments.
Both high school and college schedules feature bass fisheries that have hosted various Bassmaster tournaments throughout the years, according to Hank Weldon, B.A.S.S. College and High School Series senior tournament manager.
“One of the cool things we are doing with some high school tournaments is going to locations like Toledo Bend that have hosted Bassmaster events for multiple years,” Weldon said. “We are also going to Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee and will partner with Fish Dayton, which is familiar with big events. We expect a very, very large field there with the High School Southern Open again.”
The college schedule includes a reservoir (Sam Rayburn, Texas) that has hosted Bassmaster Elite Series in the past and a new lake (Cherokee, Tennessee) on the 2017 Elite Series slate.
“These are great fisheries at the prime time of year when our College Series will be competing,” Weldon said. “So we expect some large weights and consider this schedule really strategic in terms of picking the right locations at the right time.”
Both schedules will be linked for the first time to the same location when Lake of the Ozarks hosts the College Series Midwest Conference Regional March 29-31 and the High School Midwest Open April 2, followed by the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors Central Regional the next week.
Hosting the B.A.S.S. events in Missouri will be the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association and the Convention & Visitor Bureau — Funlake.com.
“The Tri-County Lodging Association (TCLA) Board of Directors is thrilled that Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks has been named the host site for the B.A.S.S. three-tournament package,” TCLA Administrator Jim Divincen said. “We’re also very thankful that the TCLA Group Sales Director, Lagina Fitzpatrick, was able to work with the B.A.S.S. planning team to secure this tremendously valued and prestigious three-tournament event for Lake of the Ozarks, voted the Best Recreational Lake in the Nation by USA Today readers.”
“We are thrilled and honored to be the first destination to host a three-tournament package with B.A.S.S.,” Fitzpatrick said. “The entire B.A.S.S. team is a pleasure to work with, and we are very appreciative of our partnership. Tri-County Lodging Association and the Convention & Visitor Bureau along with the entire lake area look forward to hosting a successful three-tournament event here at the best fishery in the nation.”
The High School Series begins March 11 with the Central Open at Toledo Bend Reservoir hosted by Toledo Bend Lake Country. Next is the Midwest Open at Lake of the Ozarks April 2, and Fish Dayton will host the popular Southern Open at Lake Chickamauga April 29.
“We are so excited to partner with B.A.S.S. to bring one of the largest high school events in the nation here to Fish Dayton,” said Dennis Tumlin, executive director of Fish Dayton. “By investing into high school fishing, we’re investing into the future of the sport. An April event on Chickamauga Lake will give a young person an above average chance at catching a 10-plus pounder or possibly even a new state record!”
The Southern Open annually draws the largest field among the High School Series, according to Weldon. This year’s Southern Open at Lake Guntersville featured 322 two-angler teams.
The high school teams in each of the three Opens will be competing for berths in the Costa Bassmaster High School Championship presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, of which dates and locations will be later announced.
The College Series begins Jan. 26-28 when the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau hosts the Central Conference Regional at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. During March 2-4, Georgetown, S.C., will welcome the Southern Conference Regional at Winyah Bay.
Following the Midwest Regional at Lake of the Ozarks, college competitors will clash at California’s Lake Shasta April 19-21 for the Western Conference Regional hosted by the Redding Convention and Visitors Bureau. The final regular-season event is the Eastern Conference Regional May 11-13 at Tennessee’s Lake Cherokee with the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance as the host.
“Cherokee Lake will prove its reputation as an outstanding bass lake in terms of both size and numbers of fish,” said Adele Sensing, Jefferson County EDA’s director of tourism. “The smallmouth are good and plentiful. We have a lot of support from Carson Newman University, and our local community is excited to host the Bassmaster anglers.”
The top anglers from each regional qualify for the 2017 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops, but the college anglers who do not qualify for the championship will get another chance during a Wild Card tournament set for June 8-10 at Lay Lake. The local hosts will be Shelby County, Ala., and the University of Montevallo.
“Shelby County is excited to showcase one of the country’s most outstanding fisheries in Lay Lake, which has hosted numerous regional and national fishing tournaments, including four Bassmaster Classics,” said Alex Dudchock, Shelby County manager. “Along with our partner, the University of Montevallo, these top collegiate anglers will have the opportunity to visit one of Alabama’s top public liberal arts colleges.”
Registration for all of the college and high school tournaments will be announced at a later date.
2017 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops Schedule
Event Title Lake City Date
Central Conference Regional Sam Rayburn Reservoir Lufkin, TX Jan. 26-28
Southern Conference Regional Winyah Bay Georgetown, SC March 2-4
Midwest Conference Regional Lake of the Ozarks Osage Beach, MO March 29-31
Western Conference Regional Lake Shasta Redding, CA April 19-21
Eastern Conference Regional Lake Cherokee Dandridge, TN May 11-13
Wildcard Lay Lake Shelby County, AL June 8-10
2017 Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods Schedule
Event Title Lake City Date
Central Open Toledo Bend Reservoir Many, LA March 11
Midwest Open Lake of the Ozarks Osage Beach, MO April 2
Southern Open Lake Chickamauga Dayton, TN April 29