GROVE — The world’s top 109 bass anglers will go toe-to-toe for the second stop of the season at the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, April 26-29.
The Grand Lake derby was originally scheduled to be the third regular-season event, but torrential rainfall and flooding postponed the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River presented by Econo Lodge in Orange, Texas, previously scheduled to occur April 6-9. The event is now slated for June 7-10.
The last time B.A.S.S. visited the picturesque Grand Lake was at the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. At that event, native Oklahoman Edwin Evers weighed a three-day total of 60 pounds, 7 ounces to top the field and claim the world championship title.
Evers is looking forward to fishing Grand Lake again.
“I have a lot of fond memories from that lake, especially winning the Classic in 2016,” he said. “I’m comfortable with how it fishes throughout the year, and I expect this tournament to be very exciting with lots of big fish brought to the scales.”
Considering the time of year, and the quality of anglers competing in this event, Evers expects numbers of 20-plus-pound bags to be brought to the scales daily.
“The Midwest has endured the fifth coldest spring on record, and the late spring has the bass just itching to get up shallow and start spawning,” Evers said. “I think the bass will be in all phases of the spawning process, allowing for quite a few different techniques to be effective. But I believe the biggest fish will be shallow, and that makes for a very competitive tournament.”
Each angler can weigh his five largest bass each day for a shot at the $100,000 top prize, and Evers said a winning four-day total could exceed the 80-pound mark.
“My best fish at the Classic in 2016 was over 6 pounds, but it was earlier in the year,” he said. “This time I bet we see a big bass over 8 pounds. That’s an exciting fish to bring to the scales no matter where you are in the country.
“This is the absolute best week of the year to be fishing on Grand Lake, and I think the fans and spectators are in for a real treat each afternoon at weigh-in,” he said. “With the unpredictable spring weather this year, the lake conditions could change day to day, and the angler who figures out how to adapt with the changes as they occur will be the angler who could win the event.”
After two days of full-field competition, the Top 51 anglers will qualify to fish the semi-final round on Saturday. The field will then be cut again to the Top 12 on Sunday’s championship round.
Daily takeoffs will begin each morning at 6:15 a.m. out of Wolf Creek Park in Grove. Weigh-ins will happen in the same location beginning at 3 p.m. each afternoon.
The Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoors Expo will take place at the park on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon.
The event will feature demo rides, an aquarium, free prizes and the latest fishing products on the market.
The fan-favorite kid’s area, Toyota Get Hooked on Fishing presented by Shakespeare, will also include catfish-casting ponds and a chance to meet the pros.
All activities are free and open to the public. For more information, visit Bassmaster.com.