The “Super Bowl” of bass fishing comes to Knoxville this weekend and here’s what you need to know.
1) The Bassmaster Classic, the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing,” is in Knoxville for the first time in its 49-year history. The fishing will be on Fort Loudoun and Tellico Lakes.
2) The event is expected to attract 100,000 people and among its venues, in addition to the lakes, are the Knoxville Convention Center, Volunteer Landing and Thompson-Boling Arena. The economic impact is pegged at $20 million.
3) The Bassmaster Classic has 52 of the world’s best bass anglers competing for shares of a $1 million purse. Some $300,000 goes to the winner.
Coming to downtown Knoxville for the 2019 BASSMASTER CLASSIC? Take a look at these public boating guidelines during blastoff and the “NO WAKE ZONES” being established in the Concord area of Ft. Loudoun Lake. #tnwildlife pic.twitter.com/YsRGvtdlpv— TWRA (@tnwildlife) March 12, 2019
4) What happens to the fish? It’s catch-and-release, with the bass being returned to the fishery under the supervision of the TWRA.
5) The Classic runs from Friday through Sunday. Here is some of the schedule:
* Daily takeoffs from Volunteer Landing starting at 7:30 a.m. each day of the competition.
* Weigh-ins at Thompson-Boling Arena. Doors open for B.A.S.S. Life and Nation members at 3 p.m. and to the general public at 3:15 p.m. First fish will be weighed between 4:15 and 4:30 p.m.
* The Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo will be noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m .on Sunday.
* Angler autographs: “Meet the Elites” 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the Convention Center.
* Activities for children: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday through Sunday at World’s Fair Park. Activities include casting lessons, a kid’s fishing pond, big air jumping dogs and a chance to meet the pros.
6) The 52 anglers in the Classic are already in town. Some consider Ott DeFoe of Knoxville a favorite, but several other of the competitors are Tennesseans.