Classic chase

This week two entries into the 2012 Bassmaster Classic are on the line in two very different tournament circuits.

One is the Mercury College B.A.S.S. circuit. Its July 7-9 Mercury College B.A.S.S. National Championship on the Arkansas River out of Little Rock, Ark., will whittle down the field to two for a face-off on Sunday, July 10. The winner will claim the first Classic berth awarded through the college circuit.

An interesting twist to the one-on-one competition is that the anglers will be the same two who formed the team that won the championship. That means that on July 9 they’ll be joined in claiming victory for their college, and the next morning they’ll be up against each other for a Classic berth.

The six-hour fish-off will be on a body of water near Little Rock, according to College B.A.S.S. Director Hank Weldon. The mystery location won’t be announced until the finalists are determined.

The other circuit operating this week with a Classic berth on the line is the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open. The July 7-9 competition on the James River out of Richmond, Va., offers a Classic berth to the winner — but won’t award it until the winner completes all three Northern division events, a requirement to claim the prize. Northern No. 2 is set for August, and Northern No. 3 for September.