KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A few days before the anglers showed up for the Bassmaster Classic Tournament presented by Toyota, some local folks were out fishing trash out of the Tennessee River and along its banks.

A group of about 40 people went out on March 12th near the Riverside Landing Park and South Knoxville Bridge cleaning up trash and debris.

With the help of a couple of boats, the group collected a couple hundred bags of trash.

Scott Williams and Todd Williams, owners of Batteries Plus and sponsors of one of the anglers, were in the group. They said it was shocking how much trash was out there.

“The amount of garbage was around the river bank and the park it was amazing to see how much was there and how much people don’t care and throw away.” said Todd Williams.

“In some ways for me it was rewarding – a great experience, yet disappointing in some ways when you realize how much garbage is being thrown away.” Scott Williams added.

The river clean up campaign the group assisted was spearheaded by pro angler Carl Jocumsen and the Fear My Heart organization, but Scott, Todd and Todd’s wife played a vital role to ensure the river was more presentable for the Bass Master Tournament

Photos from the day show the pile of bagged trash, a tire, and more that the group removed from from the Tennessee river.

The Bassmaster Classic Tournament kicked off Friday with a party and drone show, and will wrap up on Sunday.