DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — All it takes is reviewing B.A.S.S. tournament history of Jefferson County, Tennessee, to confirm it is indeed home to two bass fishing towns.
Since 1981, Dandridge and Jefferson City have at least 10 B.A.S.S. events between them. Those include literally every available format known to the organization. From high school and college to Elite Series and the B.A.S.S. Nation it’s been here, including five recent Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens. Another is underway this week in Dandridge.
Dandridge, on the shoreline of Douglas Lake, shares its tournament town distinction with neighboring Jefferson City, where the town is situated near Cherokee Lake.
All the above begs the question. Why so many tournaments and what make this place so special?
The answer is twofold. Tourists and tournament anglers come here for the ideal combination of outdoor scenery, great fishing, local hospitality and plenty of things to do. Undeniably, there is nowhere else like what is found in this part of east Tennessee.
“Because of our proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park we attract the same visitor in one,” said Adele Sensing, director of tourism for the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance.
“Visitors can go fishing on Douglas Lake in the morning and within a 45-minute drive be hiking a mountain trail and seeing the fantastic views from the vistas,” she added.
Hiking, fishing and just about any other outdoor activity are ways of life here. Tourism indeed fuels the local economy, and it has since Dandridge was established in 1783.
You might say that tournaments have helped bring the town full circle back to its tourism roots.