After a record-setting Bassmaster Classic, the Bassmaster Elite Series reconvenes in Anderson, S.C., for the third event of the season on Lake Hartwell. The Elites got off to a rousing start with dramatic wins by Rick Clunn on the St. Johns River and Paul Mueller on Lake Lanier, and stop three of the season visits a fishery that could present prime fishing conditions.
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Lake Hartwell, one of the region’s largest and most popular recreational lakes, has been the site of five Bassmaster events, including three Bassmaster Classics over the past 11 years.
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Hartwell is a 56,000-acre reservoir bordering Georgia and South Carolina in what is known as the Upcountry.
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In this NASA satellite with north to the right, Hartwell extends 49 miles up the Tugaloo River and 45 miles up the Seneca River. It has 962 miles of shoreline.
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Green Pond Landing and Event Center, 470 Green Pond Road in Anderson, is tournament central.
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With each Classic, Anderson County made upgrades to Green Pond, spending millions of dollars to build a facility large enough to hold major tournaments.
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“When the Classic was here in 2008, officials from B.A.S.S. asked us all to give them a reason to come back,” said Matt Schell, manager of the Anderson County Parks and Recreation Department. “That was one of our many missions with Green Pond Landing – to lure big-time events like the Bassmaster Classic.”
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This is what the point looked like in 2012, before construction on the 30-acre park began. The single ramp was replaced with a three-lane concrete ramp that measures 280 feet. There are 166 parking spaces for trucks and boats, 113 singles spaces and a huge floating dock.
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Green Pond did well in hosting the 2015 Classic, with fans showing up despite frigid conditions. It was the coldest Classic on record.
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For the 2018 Classic, an extension of the dock was among the improvements.
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Fans can come to Green Pond Thursday through Sunday to watch the Elites takeoff at 7 a.m. ET. The weigh-ins and expo also will be on the grounds, with first fish expected to come across the stage at 3:15 p.m. All B.A.S.S. venues are free of charge.
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The 75 anglers will be competing for the $100,000 first-place prize and points in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. After two days, the field will be cut to 35, and 10 advance to fish Championship Sunday.
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Elite angler Brandon Cobb, who lives less than an hour away, said the tournament might just hit the lake at the spawn. “If the weather holds stable like the forecast says, I think it’s going to be mostly a spawn tournament,” he said. “I don’t think every fish will be on bed, but there will be a lot of sight fish caught.”
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In last year’s Classic, which was about three weeks earlier in the year, the biggest bass caught was Mark Daniel Jr.’s 6-pound, 11-ounce lunker. Seth Feider shows off his Day 3 lunker that weighed 5-15.
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Last year, Jordan Lee rallied from sixth place, 6-8 out of the lead, to become only the third angler to win back-to-back Classics. For that reason, tournament director presented Lee the trophy, a duty normally reserved for the previous year’s champion.
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Casey Ashley, from nearby Donalds, S.C., is interviewed by Davy Hite while Ronnie Moore videos just before Ashley’s 2015 Classic win. Bassmaster LIVE airs each competition day from 8-11 a.m. ET, and noon-3 p.m.
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The economic impact of the event of holding the tournament is estimated to create a $4 million windfall for the region. Fans visiting last year’s Classic set the attendance record, and this year should be well-attended with all the expo festivities. Go to the tournament’s attend page for more information.