BEMIDJI, Minn. — Ninety of the top collegiate student-angler teams representing 59 colleges will meet for the 2017 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops, Aug. 10-12 on Minnesota’s Lake Bemidji.
Bemidji State University and Visit Bemidji will join B.A.S.S. as the host of the competition.
Following the tournament briefing Tuesday night, Aug. 8, Yamaha Pro Night will feature seminars by several of the stars on the Bassmaster Elite Series. Pros will include Minnesota native Seth Feider of Bloomington, Dustin Connell, Josh Bertrand, Justin Lucas and 2017 Classic champion and former college champion Jordan Lee. Lee will also be the keynote speaker during Sponsor Night on Wednesday, Aug. 9 before official competition kicks off Thursday morning, Aug. 10.
Matt Lee, 2012 Bassmaster college champion and the older brother of Jordan Lee, said fishing at the college level and winning the national championship helped prepare him for a career as a pro angler on the Elite Series.
“I sat there in the briefing before the 2012 college championship began, and I was thinking about how difficult it would be to win that tournament,” Matt Lee said. “But I was ready for it, and it was a dream come true to actually win it. That time really prepared me to make smart decisions on the water, interact with the media and fans and what it meant to be a champion.”
He also said that finishing college was paramount for him.
“As much as I wanted to skip out on finishing school and start fishing the Bassmaster Opens working for an Elite invite, earning my degree was critical,” he said. “You never know what life is going to throw your way, and having a degree will lay the groundwork for a successful life regardless if you decide to fish as a pro or not.”
Daily takeoffs for the championship will be at 6 a.m. from Paul Bunyan Park, and weigh-ins will be back at the park each day beginning at 2:30 p.m. But fans can come out early and enjoy the Bassmaster Outdoors Expo featuring interactive sponsor displays and free giveaways beginning at 1 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.
The top four teams will advance to the College Bracket to be held at an undisclosed location Aug. 14-16. At that point, team members will fish solo and be pitted against one another in a bracket-style, win-and-advance competition. The eight anglers will vie for a berth into the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, scheduled March 16-18 at South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell.
For more information, go to Bassmaster.com/college.
— B.A.S.S. Communications