It's almost Bassmaster Classic time and anticipation is at an all-time high.
Check out these 20 Bassmaster Classic facts and gear up for this year's "Super Bowl of Bass Fishing!"
These are the important facts, things to remember, and interesting tidbits related to the biggest fishing tournament there is.
1. The 2015 Bassmaster Classic will be held on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina.
2. The 2015 Geico Bassmaster Classic is presented by GoPro.
3. The date is February 20-22, 2015.
Take off will begin at 7:00 a.m. EST each day, with the weigh-ins (doors of the event center open) beginning at 3:00 p.m. EST. Exact weigh-in start times can be expected to occur around an hour later, but may vary. Watch the weigh-ins live here.
4. The Bassmaster Classic first place prize is $300,000.
The prize was reduced from $500,000 in 2014.
5. Every angler in the field walks away with a minimum check of $10,000 just for qualifying for the event.
6. Lake Hartwell is off-limits to competitors between Jan. 1, 2015 and Feb. 13, 2015 at "Safe light."
Anglers will be permitted to fish from dawn to dusk from the Feb. 13 through Feb. 15 as part of the official Bassmaster Classic practice period. The lake will then become off-limits once again until competition begins on Feb. 21.
7. 56 spots were awarded to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic, and they were earned as follows:
- 39 Bassmaster Elite Series
- 2 Defending Classic Champions
- 8 Elite Series Event Winners
- Top 29 anglers in Angler of the Year standings (excluding already qualified winners)
- 9 Bassmaster Opens Winners
- The winner of each Bassmaster Open event receives a classic berth, provided they fish all three events for the season in that division.
- 1: College B.A.S.S. Champion
- The overall winner of the five day Carhartt Bassmaster College Series national Championship
- 6: B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Champions
- The highest finishing angler from each of the six divisions in the Federation Nation Championship
- 1: Bassmaster Team Series Champion
About the Lake
8. Lake Hartwell is 56,000 acres of surface area, with 962 miles of shoreline that borders Georgia and South Carolina.
That's a whole lot of high quality H2O!
9. Lake Hartwell is home to two species of black bass: Largemouth Bass and Spotted Bass, and both can be expected to be weighed in this February.
10. Lake Hartwell is a reservoir with the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Senca Rivers being the main tributaries.
Hartwell's dam gives way to the Savannah River, which flows to Lake Russell, another Georgia/South Carolina bordering impoundment.
11. The Hartwell Dam was built in 1955-1959 after The Flood Control Act of May 17, 1950 authorized the project.
The damming of the Savannah River was no easy task. It required a 12,400-foot long, $68.4 million dollar (1948 prices) structure to hold back 56,000 acres of water averaging 45 feet deep with a maximum depth of 185 feet.
About The Anglers
12. Brett Preuett will represent the University of Louisiana-Monroe as the fourth college angler to earn a berth into the prestigious Bassmaster Classic.
13. Of the 56 competitors, only 13 of them have never fished a Bassmaster Classic before.
14. Jacob Wheeler is the youngest competitor in the field at 24.
I spoke with Jacob on the phone about a week ago, and he is extremely excited to fish in his first Bassmaster Classic. You can bet that it won't be his last.
Bassmaster Classic History
15. The 2015 Bassmaster Classic will be the 45th championship in Bassmaster Classic History, dating back to 1971 when the event was founded by Ray Scott.
16. Veteran angler, Kevin VanDam will miss his first Bassmaster Classic since 1990.
17. Alton Jones won the 2008 Bassmaster Classic; the last time the event was held on Lake Hartwell.
His total weight for three days of competition was 49 pounds, 7 ounces.
18. Texas has produced the most classic qualifiers ever.
With 283 (including this year's five Texas anglers), that's exactly 100 more qualifying anglers than the next closest state, which is Arkansas (183 including this year's five Arkansas anglers).
19. Boyd Duckett and Randy Howell are the only two anglers in Bassmaster Classic history to win a classic title in their home state.
Perhaps Lake Hartwell will crow the third home state champion? The only two South Carolina natives- Andy Montgomery and Casey Ashley, both Elite Series pros, are favored to do well at the event. Still, winning a Bassmaster Classic is no walk in the park. There is a reason why only two anglers have achieved the hometown victory in 45 years!
20. Only two anglers over 50 have ever won a Bassmaster Classic.
Woo Daves holds the record; he won on Lake Michigan in 2000 at the age of 54. Five anglers have a chance to become the third 50-year-old champion, but only two could possibly break Daves' record. Kevin Short (54) and Paul Elias (63) are the two oldest competitors. Among them, the other "over the hill" anglers include Mark Davis, Matthew Herren, and Scott Rook.
Now you are a Bassmaster Classic expert!