BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Young anglers across the country can officially start marking their calendars after B.A.S.S. officials announced the 2020 schedules for the organization’s college and high school series Friday.
The ground-breaking youth circuits, which have helped reshape the direction of competitive angling for the better part of a decade, will each include four regular-season events, plus a season-ending championship.
Due to the soaring popularity of the trails, the field size will again be capped at 250 boats for both college and high school. Each high school event will also include a field of up to 50 Junior boats for competitors ranging from second to eighth grade.
“When you consider that we’ve had to cap the field size to keep the tournaments from being too big, that tells you all you need to know about the popularity of fishing at the college and high school levels,” said Hank Weldon, Tournament Director for B.A.S.S.’s College, High School and Junior Series. “There are thousands of young anglers who are hungry to compete — and as we’ve seen with so many former college and high school anglers now competing at the highest levels of bass fishing, it’s changing the sport from top to bottom.”
The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops will begin Jan. 23-25 on Toledo Bend Reservoir in Many, La. It will then include three more springtime events on Smith Lake in Cullman, Ala. (Feb. 27-29), Lake Hartwell in Anderson S.C. (March 26-28) and Lake Cumberland in Russell County, Ky. (May 6-8).
The trail’s championship will be a summertime event on a northern fishery, but the exact date and location will not be announced until a later date. The Top 4 teams in the championship advance to the College Classic Bracket for an opportunity to earn a berth in the 2021 Bassmaster Classic.
Evidence of college fishing’s effect on the upper reaches of professional angling were evident this year with Brandon Cobb, a former member of the Clemson University fishing team, winning two Bassmaster Elite Series events. Also, 15 of the 2019 season’s 75 Elite Series pros fished for college programs.
“That’s one of the many benefits of the College Series,” Weldon said. “Anglers who want to fish professionally get to see a lot of different lakes under a lot of different conditions — and do it all while fishing against the best competition out there.
“Success on the college level is the perfect next step toward becoming a pro.”
The Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors will also include four regular-season events. The one-day events will be Jan. 26 on Toledo Bend Reservoir, March 1 on Smith Lake, May 9 on Lake Cumberland and June 20 on a northern fishery to be announced soon.
The college and high school events on Smith Lake will help kickoff festivities for the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk on Lake Guntersville, Ala., which is scheduled for March 6-8 with weigh-ins in Birmingham. The 2020 Bassmaster Classic, the 50th, will see 2019 College Classic Bracket champion Cody Huff of Bethel University competing against qualifiers from the Elite Series as well as Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens, Bassmaster Team and TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation champions.
“We are excited to welcome back the B.A.S.S. College series to Smith Lake for 2020,” said Roger Steele, Director of Tourism for the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. “We’re also thrilled to welcome for the first time the B.A.S.S. High School series to our area and look forward to introducing this group of students to the hospitality of Cullman County.
“Our community was so impressed by the friendliness and professionalism of the B.A.S.S. staff and participating anglers from last year’s event that we are more than happy to welcome everyone back for an even better year in 2020.”
The date and location for the High School Championship will be announced at a later time.
“We couldn’t be happier with the schedule we’ve put together,” Weldon said. “From Day 1, the Junior, High School and College Series have been about opportunity — and this schedule gives young anglers a chance to experience some of the best fisheries in the country.”
Online registration for the High School and Junior Series will open Nov. 12. Registration for the College Series will open Nov. 19. For more information, visit Bassmaster.com.
2020 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops
Jan. 23-25, Toledo Bend Reservoir, Many, La.
Feb. 27-29, Smith Lake, Cullman, Ala.
March 26-28, Lake Hartwell, Anderson, S.C.
May 6-8, Lake Cumberland, Russell County, Ky.
2020 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors
Jan. 26, Toledo Bend Reservoir, Many, La.
March 1, Smith Lake, Cullman, Ala.
May 9, Lake Cumberland, Russell County, Ky.
June 20, TBD