The Basspro.com Bassmaster Northern Opens are set for a big finish, and it will all unfold on FOX Sports 1.
Bassmaster LIVE shows for each Open division have been added after a successful Bassmaster Elite Series run on FOX Sports networks. The bonus coverage begins on Championship Saturday of the Northern Open at 1000 Islands, where the winner will earn around $50,000 and could add an automatic bid to the 2022 Bassmaster Classic.
There are also Elite Series berths up for grabs, and that battle to finish among the top three in the Northern Angler of the Year standings is tight, as is the race for the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Open Angler of the Year.
Tune in to LIVE Saturday for the third and final Northern Open, where seven hours will be broadcast. Coverage begins on Bassmaster.com at 7 a.m. ET, moves to FS1 from 8-11 a.m. ET, then is back on Bassmaster’s website as well as FOX Sports apps leading up to weigh-in.
FS1 added LIVE coverage for each of the three Opens divisions after an Elite season that set records in viewer numbers and minutes viewed. Bassmaster TV executive produce Mike McKinnis said FOX was pleased with the product, the viewer numbers and having a dramatic live sport in the weekend morning time slot.
The storylines are attention-grabbing. First is the title and the potential to qualify for the Classic. On Day 1, Cal Climpson of Cavan, Ontario, weighed in 27-7 to hold a slim lead over Coop Gallant of Bowmanville, Canada, with 27-0. There were 44 anglers topping 20 pounds and five bags over 25 pounds, including Elite pro Cory Johnston with 25-7.
Scott Martin will be watching closely, and pulling for either Climpson or Johnston as neither has fished the other two Northern Opens, the prerequisite to receive the automatic Classic berth. If they or anyone else not qualified wins, Martin, as next man in the Elite AOY standings, would slip into the Classic.
Then there are the Elite invitations extended to the top three finishers in the Northern Opens standings. With great Day 1 showings, Jonathan Kelley of Old Forge, Pa., jumped from sixth to take over the points lead with 551 while Alex Redwine of Blue Ash, Ohio, moved up two spots into second with 545. Spike Stoker of Cisco, Texas, is third with 533. Former Elite Michael Iaconelli stands as first man out of qualifying for a return to the series with 527, and Hugh Cosculluela of Spring, Texas, is fifth with 522.
While it won’t be decided until the final Central Open on Grand Lake in October, there’s quite a race for the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Open Angler of the Year. The winner receives $10,000 and the top three make the Elites. Former Elite winner Jacob Powroznik is leading the overall standings with 977 points. Masayuki Matsushita, who won an Open and fished last year’s Classic, is second with 964. Also from Japan and bolstered by his Open win on Douglas Lake, Daisuke Aoki is third with 951.
After Saturday, Bassmaster LIVE will air the final day of the Southern Open on Lake Norman on Sept. 25, then the Grand Lake Central Open finale on Oct. 24. In between, LIVE will air three days of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Classic Bracket, Oct. 2-4, the head-to-head matches that determine a Classic berth.
In November, LIVE will re-introduce saltwater competition to fans with three days of coverage from the Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter, which will be held Nov. 12-14 in Port Aransas, Texas.