Knoxville catches a spot in Bassmasters Elite Series for 2021


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville Sports Commission hooked a big one for local anglers as B.A.S.S. officials announced Thursday the city will be part of the Bassmasters Elite Series in 2021.

After the shortest offseason break in the trail’s 16-year history, the series will open its 2021 tournament slate Feb. 11-14 on the St. Johns River in Florida. The season-opener will begin just over three months after the final event of a 2020 schedule that was reworked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a much later finish than usual.

“We’re as excited about this schedule as any that we’ve ever put together for the Elite Series,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “It features a good mix of venues that have become fixtures for B.A.S.S. and a few we’ve been to before but haven’t visited in a while.”

From Florida, the season will shift north Feb. 25-28 to Knoxville, where two major B.A.S.S. events have played out in the past four seasons, including the record-breaking 2019 Bassmaster Classic. And like that Classic, the 2021 elite series event will take place on the Tennessee River where largemouth and smallmouth will both likely come into play.

2021 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule:

  • Feb. 11-14, AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River, Palatka, Fla.
  •  Feb. 25-28, Tennessee River, Knoxville, Tenn.
  •  March 19-21, Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, Lake Ray Roberts, Fort Worth, Texas
  •  April 8-11, Sabine River, Orange, Texas
  •  April 22-25, Lake Fork, Emory, Texas
  •  May 6-9, Neely Henry Lake, Gadsden, Ala.
  •  May 20-23, Lake Guntersville, Scottsboro, Ala.
  •  June 10-13, Pickwick Lake, Florence, Ala.
  •  July 8-11, Lake Champlain, Burlington, Vt.
  •  July 15-18, St. Lawrence River, Waddington, N.Y.
  •  Aug. 19-22, Make-up date

“The relationship that has developed between B.A.S.S. and the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission is absolutely amazing,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “The Elite Series is the world’s premier tournament circuit. We are honored to play host city for a second time, and look forward to welcoming the anglers, their teams and fans.”

“Knoxville was thrilled to host the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2017,” said Chad Culver, Senior Director of the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission. “It was the first time B.A.S.S. had been here since 1981. That event led to Knoxville hosting the 2019 Bassmaster Classic – the largest in event history. Needless to say, we could not be more excited to welcome B.A.S.S. back to the waters of Knoxville and East Tennessee.”

For the first time in history, all nine Bassmaster Elite Series events as well as the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk will feature live television coverage. Visit for more details.

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