The Bassmaster Classic is Coming to Fort Worth. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal

You’ve probably seen the billboards by now – a giant photo of a bass fish and the bold words “Bassmaster Classic,” heralding the event coming to town June 11-13.

The Bassmaster Classic divides time between Lake Ray Roberts for the tournament and various Fort Worth venues for the exhibition, deliberations, and parties. Whether you’re a keen angler or not, the event is quite a big deal.

For starters, it’s considered the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” when the best of the best from around the world (from Canada and Japan) compete for a trophy and $ 300,000. A significant economic impact is also expected per visit to Fort Worth – the Classic has an average economic impact of over $ 30 million for the host communities and a profit of $ 35.9 million after last year’s exhibition in Birmingham, Alabama , Fort Worth Congress and the Visitors Bureau look forward to similar success.

That said, the event is more than just going to the lake and watching people fish for hours – it’s a big Hollywood-style shindig.

The Chief Honchos of the BASS Fisheries Authority – CEO Bruce Akin and Chairman Chase Anderson – – Share more about the event, what to expect and how to best experience it.

These questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

FW: Why did you decide that Fort Worth and Lake Ray Roberts were the best locations for this year’s event?

BA: Texas is one of our largest states in terms of membership – about 40,000 of the members of BASS are there; 11% of our online traffic to and our other digital real estate is in Texas. Everything is big in Texas; There are also great fishing opportunities.

THE: It takes a lot between an arena, an exhibition space, and a lake to hold the event, and there aren’t many places to have them, but Fort Worth has them; and Lake Ray Roberts is a great formula for a great event as all facilities including the lake are available for a standout Bassmaster Classic.

FW: What is the basic format of the tournament for strangers?

BA: 54 anglers have qualified for this year’s Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, which will be presented by Huk. They start at 6:15 a.m., we set them up in groups of 25 and then fish for eight hours on the water. The top 10 have 10 cameras in their boats to follow the action.

Now we will actually broadcast Bassmaster live from the fair. Our talent will be at hand. The best way to follow this promotion is on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Then we will have three hours of live television on Saturday morning as well. For the first time, we had live television for the classic on the Fox Network from 8am to 11pm Eastern Time. On Sunday we are from 8 Eastern on FS1.

We also stream the weigh-in, but if you are in the Fort Worth-Dallas area or traveling to the area it is best to live there just for the weigh-in. People think, “We only come to watch people fish.” It’s a Hollywood-style show really – lights, music, all of that.

THE: It is the dream of most of the people in the bass fishing community to fish the Bassmaster Classic. It has been the fishing world championship and Super Bowl for 50 years. This would be the 51st classic.

BA: And with $ 300,000 for the winner and over $ 1 million total, that’s a pretty big deal. Really big.

FW: Are there certain anglers to watch out for?

BA: Well, five of them are from Texas. The defending champion is North Carolina’s Hank Cherry, who won the 50th Classic in Birmingham last year. Clark Wendlandt is from Texas. He was the Angler of the Year last year, so he was the top performer for the entire season.

Frank Tally is from Texas. Chris Zaldain who lives in Fort Worth. I’ll give you the locals, but ironically the locals, when they’re out of the state it’s a rarity to win. I think we’ve had maybe five or six out of 50 who won in their home state or in their home waters. You don’t necessarily have a home advantage.

One person who would likely be considered a favorite is Patrick Walters … if you’re picking a favorite right now, he’s on a pretty good swing.

THE: Patrick Walters is runner-up in Angler of the Year points. He won Lake Fork last fall and finished second at Lake Fork in April, catching over 100 pounds in four days on both occasions. He is currently in a hot phase.

FW: What makes these anglers so good at what they do?

THE: The dream and the passion, it starts here. Of course, skill plays an important role.

There is obviously knowledge of the local lake, but conditions on a lake can change every day. The changes will affect competitors, regardless of whether they come from this area or not. It is the competitors who have the experience and ability to adapt to the changes and how fish behavior changes their feeding patterns. And the techniques – where to find them, where they are not and where they are. What to bite, what bait and bait to use.

BA: [The anglers] They’re so well versed in electronics too, all they know is how to break down a body of water and figure out where the fish aren’t that good, which is just as important as figuring out where they are.

But it starts with that passion, that dream, and then people spend hours and hours on the water. They’ll tell you that, you have to spend time on the water to find out.

FW: The families who come here and are going to experience this, how would you say the best way to plan their day?

THE: The daily starts at Lake Ray Roberts [at 6:15 a.m.]Here fans can see the boats. The participants have a moderator who announces the anglers. It’s great fun looking out for someone who’s never seen this before. All anglers will be there. Spectators are welcome. It’s free. People can watch the boats leave to go to their competition sites.

At the show, anglers will be in their sponsors’ booths so fans can meet and interact with them. As part of the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo, the Go Out {side} Experience offers fun, free options such as inflatable archery, cornhole, jumping dogs, tying knots and much more. Children can even catch their first fish in an on-site catfish pond.

During the deliberations, the anglers bring their boats through the arena. Anglers will actually take the live fish on stage to see them before they are returned to their tanks, which are monitored by Texas Parks and Wildlife, and then returned to Ray Roberts later that afternoon.

There are so many products on display and for sale, and it is the latest and greatest in fishing tackle and tackle, and all outdoor gear and gear really. It’s just a great weekend activity for the whole family.

The full schedule of Bassmaster Classic events can be found here.

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