BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series will make stops at all-new tournament destinations in 2016. The regular season will span five months, visit five regions of the country and challenge competitors in a three-day tournament format.
The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series continues to produce high caliber anglers. The last three Bassmaster College Series Classic Bracket champions have qualified for the Bassmaster Elite Series via the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens. Brett Preuett of Monroe, La., is the most recent example. The 2014 champion just qualified for the Elites through the Central Opens in fall 2015.
College Series anglers are going on to fish with Bassmaster Elite Series pros, and the challenging fisheries they face in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series is paving the way.
“We always strive to select great venues for our college anglers,” said Hank Weldon, B.A.S.S. College Series tournament manager. “We look for venues and fisheries that can handle the growing field size, as well as provide great fishing and dramatic competition.”
The season begins in February as the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series heads to Lake Martin out of Alexander City, Ala., for the Southern Regional, Feb. 4-6. The 41,150-acre man-made lake hosted the 2002 Bassmaster Southern Open, won by Coby Carden of Shelby, Ala., with 36 pounds, 7 ounces. The Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open was held here in February 2015. The Tennessee team of Cole Stewart and Josh Powers brought in 14-4 during the one-day derby. The local host for the event is Alexander City.
The Central Regional isn’t far behind on Feb. 25-27 on Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin. This swampy fishery has earned its place on Bassmaster Magazine’s 2015 Best Bass Lakes list at No. 98 and will also host the first Central Open in the 2016 Opens Series. The event will be held out of Houma, La., and the local host is Nicholls State University.
Lake Mead in Henderson, Nev., will play host to the Western Regional, April 2-4. This historic fishery was home to the very first Bassmaster Classic in 1971. Bobby Murray weighed in 43 pounds, 11 ounces over three days to earn the inaugural Bassmaster Classic trophy. The local host is the Nevada B.A.S.S. Nation.
The Eastern Regional, May 19-21, will be held on the James River out of Richmond, Va. It was on this fishery in 2013 that Alabama’s Randy Howell qualified for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic — which he won. Howell weighed in three consecutive limits of more than 15 pounds, totaling 47-11 to win the James River Open. Virginia Commonwealth University is the local host for the event.
The final regular-season event of 2016, the Midwestern Regional, will take place on Illinois’ Clinton Lake, June 2-4, in conjunction with the third and final Costa Bassmaster High School Open on June 5. The tournament will be hosted by Forsyth/Clinton, Ill., and in partnership with the Illinois B.A.S.S. Nation.
“College teams are competing for a chance to fish in the national championship through these regular-season events,” Weldon said. “And, there is also a 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic berth on the line. Each year, we get to see a young, aspiring angler’s dream come true and that’s always an unforgettable moment.”
The top anglers from each regional qualify for the 2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, to be held at a date and location to be announced later. For competitors who do not qualify for the championship through their regional, the Wild Card tournament gives them another opportunity. The Wild Card will be held at a date and location to be announced at a later date.