KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Bass fishing’s biggest event, the Bassmaster Classic launched Friday morning in Knoxville at Volunteer Landing as thousands of spectators watched from the shore.

In total, 55 anglers will compete on the Tennessee River waterways for the top prize. Daily weigh-ins for the three-day tournament will be held at Thompson-Boling Arena.

See the full schedule of events here.

Visit Knoxville is hosting the event, as it returns four years after its premiere in the Scruffy City. Kim Bumpas with Visit Knoxville spoke about what it means for the event to be back.

“Having the Classic back is a big, big feather in our cap as Knoxville, Tennessee cause they love it here and the fishing is amazing,” said Bumpas. “All of our waterways are interconnected, so it gives them a love of options when they get out there.”

Professional Anglers Ish Monroe and Bobby Lane met up with WATE 6 On Your Side Anchor and Reporter Lexi Spivak out on the docks ahead of Friday’s take-off.

Although not competing in this year’s Classic, the pro bass anglers shared their perspectives on the quality of bass fishing on the Tennessee River and its lakes, as well as how the event overall is family-friendly, which may inspire the younger generation to take up the sport.

The 2023 Bassmaster Classic is happening March 24-26 at multiple venues including Volunteer Landing, Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville Convention Center, and World’s Fair Exhibition Hall.