Introducing the 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule
B.A.S.S. officials have announced the schedule for the 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series, a nine-tournament slate that will take the sport to some of the most storied fisheries in the sport’s history.
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The season will start once again in Palatka, Fla., with an event at the St. Johns River on Feb. 6-9.
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It will be B.A.S.S.’s third trip to the Putnam County, Fla., fishery in five years — and the organization’s 21st visit to the St. Johns, dating all the way back to 1973.
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Last year’s tournament on the St. Johns was one of the most exciting in B.A.S.S. history, with legendary angler Rick Clunn weighing 34 pounds, 13 ounces — a bag that included two bass over 9 pounds — on Championship Sunday to come from behind and win with 98-14.
Photo: Andy Crawford
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The second Elite Series event will be held on February 14-17 at a location to be announced later. Editor's Note: After this was published it was revealed the second stop on tour would be Lake Chickamauga.
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The Elite Series schedule will pause during March for the Super Bowl of Professional Bass Fishing.
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The 2020 Bassmaster Classic will be March 6-8 on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville (second place overall, 100 Best Bass Lakes), with daily weigh-ins and the annual Classic Expo in Birmingham.
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Guntersville is no stranger to big B.A.S.S. events, including this year's Elite Series event in June.
Photo: Dalton Tumblin
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When Elite competition resumes, B.A.S.S. will take a trip down memory lane with a return visit to Alabama’s historic Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Ala., on April 2-5.
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The lake on the Alabama/Georgia border has been the site of 18 major B.A.S.S. events, dating back to 1968 — just the second year of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail.
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A B.A.S.S. Nation event was held there in 2014. Before that, B.A.S.S. held an Open there in 2006.
Photo: David A. Brown
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The fourth Elite Series event will be in Manning, S.C., on the Santee Cooper Lakes (ninth place overall, 100 Best Bass Lakes).
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The fishery has hosted 13 major B.A.S.S. events, but none since the 2009 Southern Open.
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Massive lakes Marion and Moultrie, which measure 110,000 and 60,000 surface acres, respectively, have been on fire recently. A BFL event held on the Santee Cooper Lakes in March was won with five bass that weighed just over 30 pounds.
Photo: Gerald Crawford
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The next fishery on the schedule is known for producing some of the biggest crowds in B.A.S.S. history — the Sabine River in Orange, Texas.
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The fifth Elite Series event on the 2020 slate will be held at Orange on May 29-June 1 and could challenge the Elite Series fan attendance record of 36,200. It’ll be the fourth time the Elite Series has visited the Sabine River system — and in three previous visits, the crowds totaled more than 96,000.
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For earlier events at the Sabine River, catch rates were somewhat low. But the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has worked tirelessly to create a zone that is good for both the Orange, Texas, area and anglers. Thanks to those efforts by TPWD, tournament waters for the 2020 event will be expanded to include that new five-county zone.
Photo: Thomas Allen
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The site for the annual Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefitting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department will be announced at a later time. But the dates have been tentatively set for June 5-9 — just before the Elite Series makes its New York swing.
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That swing will begin with another trip to smallmouth bass fishing’s holy country, the St. Lawrence River in Waddington, N.Y., on July 23-26.
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The fishery was named the top bass fishing destination in America on Bassmaster Magazine’s list of Top 100 Best Bass Lakes.
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This year’s Elite Series event on the river was won by Georgia pro Micah Frazier with an average of more than 20 pounds of smallmouth each day.
Photo: James Overstreet
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The pros will leave Waddington and head to Plattsburgh, N.Y., for an event at Lake Champlain on July 30-Aug. 2.
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B.A.S.S. last visited Champlain in 2018 for an Open.
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Vermont angler Bryan Labelle won with an average of almost 20 pounds of largemouth per day.
Photo: Chris Mitchell
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The Elites will finish their season in Macomb County, Mich., at Lake St. Clair (eighth place overall, 100 Best Bass Lakes) on Aug. 20-23.
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It will mark the eighth time B.A.S.S. has brought a major event to St. Clair since 1994.
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The last three events — in 2014, 2015 and 2017 — were all won with better than 20-pound daily averages.