Weekend team coverage by the WATE 6 On Your Side of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River at Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes.
It is the first time in its 49-year history that the “Super Bowl of bass fishing” has taken place in Knoxville. If you’re going to any of the Bassmaster Classic, be aware of the forecast; no rain, but cooler.
Professional bass anglers push off from Volunteer Landing, which is just down the road from where the other Bassmaster Classic tournament action is happening – the Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in the Knoxville Convention Center; plus the daily weigh-ins are happening nearby at UT in the Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tournament waters include Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes, twin reservoirs connected by a canal and comprising about 30,000 acres. Competitive anglers in the tourney can fish either lake and anywhere along the Tennessee River upstream from Fort Loudoun Dam to the Interstate 40 bridge on the Holston River and the Highway 168 bridge on the French Broad River.
.@ottdefoe didn’t disappoint the hometown crowd as he brought 20 pounds to the scales in Thompson-Boling arena. Will he continue his strong start from Day 1? #bassfishing #bassmasterclassic #bassmaster pic.twitter.com/A1Dypvy8w0— Bassmaster (@bassmaster) March 16, 2019
Four Tennessean pro bass anglers are most likely feeling right at home since they’re on home turf – Ott DeFoe from Knoxville; Brandon Lester from Fayetteville; Jacob Wheeler from Harrison and Wesley Strader from Spring City.
May they represent the Volunteer State well!
After Day 1 of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, local bass angler Ott DeFoe was in the lead, according to the Bassmaster leaderboard.
DeFoe is from Knoxville and told WATE 6 On Your Side he was happy the “Super Bowl of bass fishing” tournament was happening in his hometown.
“Havin’ the Bassmaster Classic in your hometown is a big deal,” DeFoe said. “I’m really, really excited to be competing in this. Also, for our town getting to see and all the people that live here and all the people that are going to come into town for this event – for them to experience the Bassmaster Classic like I did when I was 9 years old for the first time – it really is a special event.”
Other Tennessee native Jacob Wheeler, from Harrison, Tenn. was also in the top 5 of Friday’s leaderboard.
The other two Tennesseans, Wesley Strader and Brandon Lester, were in the Top 25 of the leaderboard as of Friday night.
Day 2 had anglers bringing their A-game as they tried reeling in the biggest catch.
Outdoor Expo attendance saw several thousand people and the weigh-ins also had hundreds of people wanting to cath glimpses of the professional bass anglers’ daily catches.
At the end of the day, Jacob Wheeler, who is from Harrison, TN, is sitting in the top spot as weight leader in the tournament standings. Wheeler had a total of 10 catches over the last two days totaling 32 lbs and 6 oz.
Mark Daniels Jr. and Chris Zaldain are in 2nd and 3rd.
Knoxville native Ott DeFoe now sits in 4th place with catching a total of 10 fish for 30 lbs and 5 oz.
Day 3, the final day of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, will have anglers trying their luck on the Tennessee River for final catches.