BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Anderson, S.C., on the shores of Lake Hartwell is becoming a frequent and favorite stop for Bassmaster fishing tournaments.
The lake hosted the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in 2015 and 2018, a Bassmaster Elite Series event in April, a B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in 2017, and High School Opens this spring and last.
Add two more major B.A.S.S. events to the lineup — the Bassmaster Team Championship and the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship — later this year.
The Nation Championship will be held Nov. 6-8, and the Team Championship will take place Dec. 11-14.
“Our team at Anderson County could not be more excited about hosting the 2019 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship as well as the Bassmaster Team Championship at Green Pond Landing and Lake Hartwell,” said Neil Paul, executive director of Visit Anderson. “Our community enjoys a tremendous amount of success whenever we’re hosting the great folks from B.A.S.S. We owe a great deal of credit to B.A.S.S. for their part in helping us establish Lake Hartwell as a championship fishery and Green Pond Landing as one of the premier facilities in the nation. We look forward to welcoming the anglers, their families and the entire B.A.S.S. Nation to Anderson County later this year.”
“We are excited to bring the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship back and the Bassmaster Team Championship to Lake Hartwell, Green Pond Landing and the city of Anderson,” said Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Nation director and Team Championship tournament director. “They always roll out the carpet for B.A.S.S. when we come.
“And Hartwell is a fantastic fishery. I am excited to go back. They both should be very exciting events with lots of bass caught. I am pretty sure that Lake Hartwell with be the only lake in the history of B.A.S.S. that will singularly be responsible for sending four anglers to the Bassmaster classic in the same year! That’s pretty cool!"
The top boater and nonboater from each state competing in one of three regional championships will fish the National Championship, along with qualifiers from 11 foreign nations with affiliated B.A.S.S. Nation organizations. The Top 3 finishers from the Nation Championship will earn a spot in the 50th Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods, to be held March 6-8 in Birmingham, Ala., with fishing on Lake Guntersville, as will the winner of the Team Championship Classic Fishoff competition.
The overall winner of the Nation Championship will receive an invitation to fish the 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series. Two current Bassmaster Elite Series pros qualified for the top tier of professional bass fishing through the Nation Champions, Caleb Sumrall in 2017 and Randall Pierson in 2018.
The Team Championship comprises the top teams from organized tournament trails across the United States, as well as other countries. Teams were fielded this year from Australia, Canada and South Africa, in addition to the U.S. The trails must register with and be sanctioned by B.A.S.S. prior to the start of the season.
The program has grown dramatically since its inception. In 2014, 38 trails signed up. That number grew to 62 trails (with more than 8,000 members) in 2018, when the fifth annual Team Championship event on the Harris Chain of Lakes at Leesburg, Fla., drew 197 two-angler teams.
William Samples of South Boston, Va., and Charles Purcell of Townsville, N.C., won the 2018 national team title with a two-day total of 42 pounds, 10 ounces, and will be able to defend their title at Hartwell.
Kentucky angler Matthew Robertson won the Classic Fish-Off and a berth in the 2019 Classic in Knoxville in March.
“These two grassroots programs provide weekend anglers a chance to prove their remarkable fishing skills on a national stage,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “We’re proud to provide that platform because they represent an important part of the foundation of the fishing industry and the sport of bass fishing.”
Both events are hosted by Visit Anderson.