Bassmaster College Championship Coming to Dayton

FLW Elite pro angler with a big Chickamauga largemouth caught Thursday during the 6th stop on the FLW Tour circuit. Big bass on Chickamauga Lake have attracted toutnaments from around the country and is working hard to keep them coming. (FLW Photo)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — just added another notch to its gun with the announcement of yet another major bass tournament headed to Rhea County. This announcement comes even as FLW pros are cross-crossing Chickamauga Lake right now, competing in an elite Tour event between now and May 5.

Besides a laundry list of other tournaments headed for Dayton this year, B.A.S.S. just announced that the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Championship will be held Aug. 1-3 on Chickamauga Lake.

The College Championship will field as many as 130 teams of anglers representing colleges and universities across the nation. Qualifications are based on the teams’ finishes in four college tour stops being held this year as well as qualifying tournaments conducted by B.A.S.S. Nation organizations in states throughout the country.

“We’re excited to host the 2019 Bassmaster College National Championship here in #BassTownUSA and Lake Chickamauga,” said Dennis Tumlin, director of Fish Dayton. “Our lake has already produced over 65 double digit bass so far this year and we know these big fish will be a factor in this year’s championship event. With the combination of these giant Florida-strain bass along with late season lake grasses, we see an exciting event shaping up.”

The event will crown the 2019 Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year. In addition, anglers on the Top 3 teams will earn a chance to compete for the lone College Series berth in the 2020 Bassmaster Classic to be held on Lake Guntersville, Alabama, March 6-8.

Aug. 27-29, the top four teams from the championship go on to the College Bracket tournament on 39,000-acre Watts Bar Lake at Spring City, Tenn. In that competition, the four teams are split and the eight anglers compete individually for a coveted invitation to the Classic.

“Chickamauga is one of the hottest bass lakes in the country right now, and it will provide a fantastic battleground to determine the top college anglers in the world,” said Hank Weldon, senior tournament manager/high school and college fishing. “And with a Classic berth on the line, college anglers are gunning with all their might to make it to the championship. It’s going to be an event they will always remember.”

In addition, the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Championship presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors will return to Kentucky Lake at Paris, Tenn., for the fifth time, while the Bassmaster Junior Championship for second- through eighth-grade anglers will be held again on Carroll County 1000 Acre Recreational Lake at Huntingdon, Tenn.

Three hundred high school teams are expected to compete on Kentucky Lake Aug. 8-10 for the high school championship crown. Each two-angler team is accompanied by a coach who runs the boat and can give advice on fishing techniques and patterns.

Student anglers qualify for the championship through four High School Opens.

“They are the best of the best among 13,000 high school B.A.S.S. members representing more than 1,300 high school fishing clubs nationwide,” Weldon said. “In addition to the 900 anglers and coaches, we expect at least 2,000 family members and friends in attendance, cheering on their favorite teams.”

“We are thrilled to once again host the High School National Championship here in Henry County at beautiful Kentucky Lake,” said Tara Wilson, administrative coordinator, Henry County Tourism Authority. “We welcome all the anglers and their families to our community and wish them all the best of luck!”

Bethel Director of Athletics Dale Kelley added, “We are honored as a school and county to be involved and serve as hosts. It provides an opportunity for both Bethel and Carroll County to make a difference and be a part of something special. This introduces so many people to our great lakes and, of course, our university. We wish everyone much success and a safe week here in West Tennessee.”

The High School Series debuted in 2013 and has grown immensely since its inception. The program emphasizes sportsmanship, academics and a conservation ethic while giving young anglers a chance to improve and test their fishing skills in competition among their peers.

Another fast-growing tournament program is the Junior Bassmaster Division, which will field up to 50 teams in that group’s championship Aug. 6 and 7 at Carroll County 1000 Acre Recreational Lake. As in the high school competitions, they will compete as two-angler teams accompanied by a coach.

“We are excited to welcome the young anglers and their families to Carroll County and west Tennessee,” said Brad Hurley, President of Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. “This is our sixth year to be a host, and our enthusiasm for the Bassmaster Junior National Championship is only growing. Clearly the championship is putting the Carroll County 1000 Acre Recreational Lake on the radar of many fishermen.”

Each championship will be covered live on and will be reported on in B.A.S.S. Times Magazine as well as independent media.

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Richard Simms is a professional journalist and fishing guide in Chattanooga. (See He is also a former wildlife officer for TWRA, a book author and a self-proclaimed "River Rat" with a sincere desire for spreading the message about our bountiful natural resources and the people charged with using, or protecting them.


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