BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule features more exciting twists and changes than the world’s premier tournament circuit has seen in its storied 11-year history.
This year, Bassmaster has added a new stop on the circuit, the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest. The event, which will replace and build upon Toyota Texas Bass Classic’s decade-long legacy, is scheduled for May 17-21 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, one of the hottest big-bass lakes in the United States.
“Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest will combine the best features of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic and our own BASSfest tournament - both of which have become immensely popular among anglers and fishing fans,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Texas Fest will host a special Fan Appreciation Day offering anglers and their families opportunities to meet, greet and learn from the world’s best professional anglers.”
The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest will emphasize best practices in fishing conservation, including a catch, weigh and immediate release format. The event will also continue to benefit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), which has been instrumental in introducing fishing conservation guidelines that have influenced fishing tournaments throughout the United States.
“Toyota has been a longtime supporter of fishing and conservation in Texas, and we know the partnership with B.A.S.S. will only bring those practices and our messages to a greater audience,” said Dave Terre, TPWD’s chief of fisheries management and research.
The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest will continue to follow the rules established in the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, including the use of on-boat marshals for weighing fish and the allowance of one fish over a designated size per angler to be brought in each day for public display and subsequent return to the lake. Only Bassmaster Elite Series anglers will be able to compete in Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, one of the qualifying events for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro. The winner receives an automatic berth in the Classic.
“The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest is going to be a fantastic tournament that builds upon everything we’ve established over the past 10 years,” said Kelly Jordon, professional angler and co-founder of Toyota Texas Bass Classic. “Adding the B.A.S.S. organization to the existing event will benefit everyone involved.”
Also for the first time, the Elite Series schedule will include two events prior to the Classic. With the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” moving to March 24-26 at Lake Conroe outside of Houston, Texas, B.A.S.S. decided to conduct two Elite tournaments in February.