Elite Series pro Brandon Lester hauls in a St. Lawrence smallie. B.A.S.S. photo by Seigo Saito.
Getting excited for the Bassmaster elite series kick off!
On Feb. 7, the Bassmaster elite series kicks off its 10-event 2019 series of tournaments on the St. Johns River at Palatka, Fla.
“I’m really excited,” said Elite angler Bill Lowen, of Brookville, Ind. “I’ve been in the Elite Series for 12 years, and today I feel just like I did right before my very first season. I can only imagine how exciting this has to be for the new guys over what I feel is fixing to take place.”
What is “fixing” to take place is a 10-event series on some of the best big-bass lakes in the nation. The trail features a smaller field, bigger payouts per angler, lower entry fees and more media coverage than ever in the 14-year history of the nation’s premier bass fishing circuit.
When Elite No. 1 gets underway Feb. 7 on the St. Johns, it will be on the storied fishery where four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Rick Clunn won his 15th B.A.S.S. competition three years ago at age 69. Clunn’s heroics included a five-bass limit weighing 31 pounds, 7 ounces. The St. Johns River is also where Florida-native Cliff Prince landed the largest bass in Elite Series competition since 2016, weighing 10 pounds, 8 ounces.
Monstrous catches like that are what organizers are hoping for in 2019.
“We’re visiting some of the hottest fisheries at the best times this year to catch the biggest bass,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “If you want to talk ‘Big Bass’, this is the tried-and-true tournament format that rewards anglers who have the skill to catch the heaviest five-bass limits each day. We can’t wait to see what our anglers bring to the scales from the waters of places like the St. Johns River, Lake Guntersville, Lake Fork and the St. Lawrence River.”
With 75 anglers now competing on the Elite Series, the lineup includes 40 Elite anglers returning from the 2018 season joined by a mix of top-ranked Bassmaster Opens anglers, former Elite Series anglers and a handful of accomplished pros from other circuits.
Adding to the thrill of the approaching season is the knowledge that 40 of the 75 Elite anglers will qualify for the 2020 Bassmaster Classic.
2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Schedule
Event Fishery City Dates
Elite No. 1 St. Johns River Palatka, Fla. Feb 7-10
Elite No. 2 Lake Lanier Gwinnett, Ga. Feb 14-17
Elite No. 3 Lake Hartwell Anderson, S.C. April 4-7
Elite No. 4 Winyah Bay Georgetown, S.C. April 11-14
Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Lake Fork Emory, Texas May 2-6
Elite No.6 Fort Gibson Lake Tahlequah, Okla. May 16-19
Elite No. 7 Lake Guntersville Scottsboro, Ala. June 21-24
Elite No. 8 St. Lawrence River Waddington, N.Y. Aug. 15-18
Elite No. 9 Cayuga Lake Union Springs, N.Y. Aug 22-25
Toyota Bassmaster AOY Championship TBA
For more information, visit Bassmaster.com.