Championship Friday takes off

MANY, LOUISIANA – The third and final day of the Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional presented by Magellan Outdoors began without a hitch Friday morning on Toledo Bend Reservoir in the northwest corner of the Bayou State.

What began as a field of 380 anglers has been whittled to 62 boaters and an equal number of non-boaters.

Each man who survived the cut has two goals – to represent his state proudly and maybe, just maybe, to lock up a spot in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship which will be held on an undisclosed date and fishery later this year.

The leading boater and non-boater from each of the 19 states represented in the tournament will earn that chance. There’s cash on the line too – $6,500 to the top boater and $3,250 for the non-boater with the heaviest bag. The top 38 anglers in each division made the cut to Friday, and those who were in the top three of their state (but outside of the money line of 38th place) also are competing today.

Bob Blumenstein of Bolingbrook, Illinois, leads the remaining boaters with a two-day weight of 10 bass weighing 42 pounds, 11 ounces. That total was buoyed by a 25-13 sack on Thursday that was the heaviest of this regional to date.

Blumenstein is sharing a boat today with Louisiana’s Charlie Hewitt, whose two-day total of six bass for 26-7 not only leads non-boaters, but was a key reason why Louisiana was crowned overall team champion on Thursday.

Those are your leaders, but each angler in each division has a chance to make the National Championship given how a few hefty Toledo Bend bass can quickly erase a weight differential.

Indiana’s Chris Myers has the heaviest bass among boaters (an 11-6 lunker boated Thursday) and Louisiana’s Michael Nobile has the big bass for non-boaters (an 8-15 caught Wednesday). There’s a $500 cash prize for the heaviest bass caught in the boater division and a $250 prize in the non-boater ranks.

Today’s weigh-in will begin at 2:30 p.m. CST from Cypress Bend Park on Toledo Bend. Catch all the action, including live streaming video, game stories, results, photo galleries and more right here on!