It’s finally here, the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series. The season gets under way at 7:15 a.m. Thursday, when the 110 anglers launch on Tennessee’s Cherokee Lake.
It’s different from years past when the GEICO Bassmaster Classic kicked off the season. The anglers will have two Elite events before heading to Houston and Lake Conroe for the big show. Time will tell how this might affect things.
Last year, the season got off to a dramatic start when Edwin Evers rallied to win the Classic on Grand Lake. Rick Clunn added emotion with his St. Johns win at age 69, and there was excitement and drama the rest of the way. The season really had it all, including Kevin VanDam’s resurgence after a five-year victory drought.
The Day 1 launch is the beginning of a dream for the newcomers, a continuation for the veterans, but it’s the sport’s most anticipated moment. Most of us can’t wait to see just how the 2017 season unfolds.
BOAT CHECK IS FIRST OFFICIAL BUSINESS
The Elites actually had their first official meeting on Sunday afternoon in Dandridge, Tenn.
“We call it the boat check inspection,” senior tournament official Chuck Harbin said.
While it is more of a perfunctory practice, Harbin said B.A.S.S. wants to make sure all the signage on the pros boats and jerseys are up to standards. (Some even send in photos ahead of time for review.)
Dave Lefebre did a live Facebook video of Harbin looking over his boat and jersey, and then Harbin handed out B.A.S.S. and Toyota stickers that go on each boat.
“Welcome back,” Harbin said.
“Glad to be back,” Lefebre said.
Harbin said the check began at 2 p.m. and took nearly three hours. The Elites then had a brief rules meeting and were released about the time the Super Bowl started. They’ll have another get-together on Wednesday, when the Elites take part in the official registration and meeting for Cherokee Lake.