Kickoff in Titletown

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Bassmaster Elite Series Green Bay Challenge, known as the Elite Series Mystery Lake, brought B.A.S.S. pros to an unknown fishery as they sought the secrets of the big waters of Green Bay, Wis.

At the Friday weigh-in, the field of 98 Elite Series anglers showed their prowess and the promise of big catches in Green Bay. Hometown favorite Travis Manson of De Pere, Wis., has a two-day total of 27 pounds, 8 ounces.

Many of Manson’s fellow Elite Series pros have never competed on Green Bay and don’t even know their way around the water. As the “mystery lake” stop of the season, pre-tournament scouting wasn’t possible.

Day 1 was full of excitement as the leader, Aaron Martens, brought in his five-bass limit weighing in at 20 pounds. In comparison, at the previous tournament, the Mississippi River Rumble held in La Crosse last week, the first-place weight on Day 1 was 16.8 pounds. The largest fish to the scales so far in the Green Bay Challenge was a 5-pound smallie hooked by Japan’s Morizo Shimizu.

B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Noreen Clough said she sees angler expertise and point of view as an important factor in determining the health of a fishery.

“I rely on our pros to provide information about the waters we fish,” Clough said. “They’re out on the water every day and can assess fish population, behavior and location. We can all learn from them. As we take steps forward, we look forward to working with Wisconsin DNR and to coming back to Wisconsin for another B.A.S.S. tournament.”

“Everyone is very pleased with the way this tournament progressing,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. “We are excited to see the quality of this fishery gain national exposure and are happy to see some of the best of the best experiencing what Wisconsin waters have to offer. We thank Green Bay for its hospitality. We look forward to working with Bassmaster and local officials on future tournaments.”

According to Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, having the tournament in Green Bay is a coup for a city known for its competitive spirit on the gridiron.

“We’re honored to have the tournament here, working in conjunction with state officials,” Schmitt said. “These anglers are professionals, and we respect what they do. We have people charged with commitment to the environment and to the bass, and we know B.A.S.S. handles the fish as safely and expeditiously as possible. It’s clear that this tournament’s No. 1 priority, more than catching bass, is environmental protection of waterways.”

Fishing fans are invited to the June 28-July 1 Green Bay Challenge. They can watch the takeoff at 6:30 a.m. CT and the daily weigh-ins at 3:15 p.m. CT. Both will happen at Metro Bay Launch, 102 Bay Beach Road, Green Bay. On Saturday and Sunday, the Green Bay Challenge Family Festival will open at noon.

All Bassmaster events are free.