Nation anglers calculating Classic odds

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Dalton Tumblin

ANDERSON, S.C. – 2.6 percent. It’s not a lot, but then again, when you’re talking about chances of hitting the lottery, 2.6 percent is pretty darn considerable.

The 115 anglers competing in the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship have a 2.6 percent chance of hitting the bass fishing version of the lottery this week on Lake Hartwell. The three best among them in this three-day event, which began Wednesday morning, will punch a ticket to the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by HUK.

The Classic is scheduled for March 6-8 at Lake Guntersville in Alabama.

But first things first, and that’s means mastering Hartwell, which has seen its fair share of championship fishing through the years. The 2015 and 2018 Classics were held right here in the northwest corner of the Palmetto State, and the 2017 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship was held here too.

The field is composed of 59 boaters and 56 non boaters. They hail from 47 states and 11 other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe. 

Among the competitors is 2018 Champion Randy Pierson. The California pro mastered Alabama's Pickwick Lake last year and locked up a spot in the Classic, as well as a berth in the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series. This year's overall winner will fish in the Elite Series, as well as the next Classic, too. 

The full field took to the 56,000-acre Lake Hartwell at 6:45 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. They’ll repeat the process on Thursday, when a non-boater champion will be crowned.

On Friday, the Top 10 boaters will compete, as will the non-boater champion, along with the top two boaters from each region who failed to make the Top-10 cut. Friday’s field also will include any non-boater who had enough weight to have finished in the Top 10 in the boater filed.

Confused? Don’t be! The anglers who catch heavy bass in a lake with an abundance of them will be around on Friday, and fans from around the world can follow all the action right here on Bassmaster.com.

The weather is supposed to be agreeable this week, with temperatures in the 60s throughout the tournament and appreciable rain only predicted overnight on Thursday. That means it’s a perfect opportunity for bass fishing fans to make their way to the event to see what the B.A.S.S. Nation anglers can do on this world-class fishery.

Takeoff and weigh-in are being held at Green Pond Landing, 470 Green Pond Rd. in Anderson, S.C. The championship is hosted by Visit Anderson.