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Elite Series AOY to be held on Mille Lacs

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CraigP83

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B.A.S.S. announces sites of BASSfest and Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship

By BASS Communications
NOV 5, 2015


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Two special events of the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series will be held at new, or relatively new, venues for the world’s premier bass fishing circuit, B.A.S.S. announced today.

The fan-favorite BASSfest will be held June 8-12 at Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma-Texas border, and the season finale, the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship, will take place at Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake.

“Similar to the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, the Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments have become extremely popular ‘happenings’ for bass fishing fans. By taking our fishing festivals to Lake Texoma and Mille Lacs, we will expose the sport to new fan bases,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “And, our Elite Series anglers are sure to enjoy the new challenges these lakes present.”

Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Okla., is presenting sponsor of BASSfest.

In addition, officials of the world’s largest fishing organization revealed a new tournament for 2016: the Bassmaster Classic Bracket tournament, to be held on the Niagara River out of Buffalo, N.Y., July 19-22.

In that event, the Top 8 finishers in Elite No. 7 on Cayuga Lake, New York, will go head-to-head in a bracket format tournament that will pay $50,000 in cash — in addition to the prize money they will have earned at Cayuga — and award a guaranteed spot in the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing, the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic.

The Classic Bracket will be streamed live on Bassmaster.com and will feature — for the first time ever in Bassmaster competition — catch-weigh-release scoring. That is, competitors will have their catches weighed instantly on the water by judges, and the bass will be released back into the water at the spots where they were caught. Only the heaviest five bass per angler will be counted.

Lake Texoma, an 89,000-acre impoundment of the Red River, was the site of the 1979 Bassmaster Classic won by Hank Parker, now a popular television fishing show host, in September of that year, and it was the venue for Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens in 2007 and 2010. It has not hosted an Elite event, however.

Parker caught 31 pounds and won $25,000 in the ’79 Classic by using a “flipping stick” borrowed from fellow competitor Gary Klein, shining the national spotlight on the then-new technique of “flippin’.” Klein finished fourth in that event. Veteran pro Rick Clunn was third.

Headquarters for the five-day BASSfest will be Choctaw Casino Resort at Durant, Okla. As in the two previous BASSfests, both held on Tennessee River impoundments, the 2016 event will feature a military and fan appreciation day, complete with Bassmaster University seminars, an expo and other activities.

“Choctaw Casino Resort is excited to partner with B.A.S.S. to bring the best anglers in the country to the Lake Texoma area,” said Wendy Carter, director of marketing for Choctaw Casino Resort - Durant. “We look forward to hosting competitors and their families, and introducing them to our many new amenities, like our recently-opened entertainment complex called The District. In The District, families can enjoy an arcade, 20 bowling lanes, a movie theater, laser tag arena and food court.”

No B.A.S.S. professional tournament has ever been held on Mille Lacs, which lies about 90 miles north of Minneapolis. At 132,500 acres, the lake is Minnesota’s second-largest inland lake and is known among bass anglers as a bucket list smallmouth destination. It is ranked 10th on Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes list for 2015.

“We are proud to support the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year tournament in 2016,” said Tracy Sam, general manager of Grand Casino Mille Lacs. “Not only will it help bring thousands of new visitors to the area, it’s a great opportunity to showcase everything Mille Lacs has to offer.”

Earlier this year, the state of Minnesota announced it would permit culling bass in major tournaments on Mille Lacs in hopes of inducing B.A.S.S. and other tournament organizations to schedule events there. The region’s tourism economy has been hard hit by a declining walleye fishery, on which lakeshore lodges and other businesses depend for much of their income.

“We applaud the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for its efforts to accommodate competitive bass fishing,” said Akin. “The Angler of the Year Championship is expected to generate $3.4 million in economic impact for the region, and the area will continue to benefit as the bass fishing world learns about the fantastic fishing available in Mille Lacs Lake.”

“The Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council is thrilled that the 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year tournament will be coming to Mille Lacs Lake,” said Tina Chapman, executive director of Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council. “We have a rich history of great fishing in this community, and this tournament is a chance to increase awareness of numerous fishing opportunities to new anglers. This is great news for businesses and communities all around the lake.”

The $1 million Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship includes the Top 50 Elite anglers based on their ranks in AOY points at the end of the regular season, and it will determine the 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year as well as 38 or more qualifiers for the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic.

“Toyota is proud once again to sponsor the championship, which elevates the Angler of the Year title to one of the most prestigious awards a professional angler can earn,” said Ed Laukes, vice president, Marketing, Performance and Guest Experience for Toyota Motor Sales. “After competing in 10 events in as many states over the course of the season, the AOY champion will truly have proved that he is the best of the best.”


The 2016 Elite Series comprises 10 tournaments in addition to the Classic Bracket event, an increase over the nine events of 2015.

Following is a complete list of the tournaments, dates and venues, beginning with the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.


earldogg

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WOW! I knew they would make this happen, figured it would be another 5-7 years though, wow, awesome. If they get decent weather, this tournament will have people talking about this WORLD class smallmouth fishery.

Mike Cork

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Outstanding :toot: I love how the new owners are changing things up  ~c~
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Grew up in Ogilvie - 20 miles south of Mille Lacs - and still have family close by. May have to plan a trip to marshal that tourney. Should be a fun event if the wind doesn't get too bad.
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CraigP83

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Just signed up to marshal this event. I'm on the waiting list, hoping I get selected  ;D

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CraigP83

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Who is going to this event? Mille Lacs is going to spit out a bag of smallies in the 30# range. It's going to take 70# or better to win the 3 day event. Watch out for Seth Feider who just qualified by taking 2nd in La Crosse.

Mike Cork

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It's a little too far for me but I'm excited to see them fish some of these type of waters! The little I know about the lake, puts me in agreement with your weight estimates.

Is there any kind of largemouth bite there? 4 pound largemouth and grass could fit some of the southern boys style and bring new presentation to the area. Like over in New York where the winners have targeted the largemouth. Many times in places with dominating Smallie populations the largemouth are an untapped resource!
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CraigP83

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Is there any kind of largemouth bite there?

Yes, there are some big largemouth in Mille Lacs, and they are criminally underfished. However, I don't think there is enough largemouth water to support a winning stringer 3 days straight. A few people might try targeting largies, and they might even have a good bag, but I'd be very surprised if it's going to contend with the monster smallmouth bags we are likely to see.

Mike Cork

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A three day stretch of Largemouth this time of year usually means a lot of water to cover. None the less, I love big smallies too ~c~
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Craig, Did you get selected as a marshal?

CraigP83

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Craig, Did you get selected as a marshal?

Yes sir, I'm getting off work at 11AM CST on Wednesday and heading straight up to the lake.  ~fff ~fff

CraigP83

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From Bassmaster.com

By Keith Combs
Typically I head into an Elite Series season with the Angler of the Year title as my undisputed number one goal. But 2016 has been a different kind of year for me. Once they announced that the 2017 Bassmaster Classic would be held at Lake Conroe in Texas, making sure that I don’t miss that tournament has been all I can think about. I wouldn’t say that I’ve fished conservatively, nor am I worrying myself to death, but I’ll be the first to admit that I look at the points on occasion.
With my goal accomplished, I’ve been able to relax a bit in the latter half of the season. The break between Cayuga and the Potomac came at the perfect time to get ready for the stretch drive, and it also gave me an opportunity for a nice getaway to Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota, where the Angler of the Year Championship will be held this week.

I’d heard tales of the massive population of smallmouths Mille Lacs before my fiancée and I went there, but you never know what to believe until you experience it yourself. Now that I’ve been there I can confirm – the stories are true. I don’t know that it’ll take 25 pounds a day to win, like some people are saying, but you’ll need at least 20 to be in the hunt.

For me, that’s an ideal situation. I love the slugfests and if you look at my track record in big weight events it’s obvious why that’s the case. When you’re on a fishery where you’re struggling to get bites, you have to be concerned with survival. If you’re on a body of water where just catching a limit is not a problem, it gives you the freedom to fish for five big ones. If you stub your toe a bit and misjudge them, you still typically have time to salvage your day. I don’t think my strength is making reluctant fish bite (unless they’re on a bed). Where I’m at my best is when I can keep moving and try to find the largest and most aggressive schools.
Earlier in my career, a fishery like Mille Lacs might have intimidated me. Coming from Texas, where I can put my Power Tackle baitcasting rods to the test every day, I didn’t know what to make of northern smallmouths. Now that I’ve been to St. Clair, the Thousand Islands, Erie and other northern fisheries, I’ve learned to love them, and I’m not at all scared to use a spinning rod. The beauty of Mille Lacs is that it’s so productive that the field should be able to catch good limits just about anywhere from top to bottom. Seriously, we’ll be able to catch schooling fish as well as fish that we see cruising and those that we find deep on our electronics. I’m trying to remember how many different ways that Jennifer and I caught them last month and I can think of at least 10 off the top of my head. It’s going to be wide open.

Surprisingly, we also caught some quality largemouths. I know that the smallmouths will be dominant and you’ll have to chase them most if not all of the time, but it’s nice to have even one more option. I hope that the people who live up there recognize what an incredibly dynamic fishery they have in their backyard.

I’m fortunate to have fished a lot of world class lakes like Falcon, Amistad, Toledo Bend and Fork while they’ve been pumping out monster bags and huge individual fish. It’s possible that a Texan like me could never leave our home state and still have angling adventures to last a lifetime, but now that I’ve fished all over the country I’ve come to appreciate other waters and other styles of fishing. You can take me out of Texas, but no matter where I go, I hope there’s a slugfest about to happen.

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Congrats on getting selected as a marshall Craig!!!  :toot: :toot: :toot:

Let us know who you got to ride with.  :)
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CraigP83

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Congrats on getting selected as a marshall Craig!!!  :toot: :toot: :toot:

Let us know who you got to ride with.  :)

For sure man, I'll post pics to when I get back. I'm so excited to learn some spots and techniques on "the pond". I've had some AMAZING days out there, but that lake can also humble a person quickly.

CraigP83

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Got back from Mille Lacs last night, as expected I had a great time and learned a bunch. Day 1 I got paired up with Clifford Pirch, it was really rough out there and I ended up getting soaked but I learned alot about spotting fish on the sonar and dropping right on top of them.

Day 2 I got paired up with Stephen Browning. He taught me alot about fishing a type of structure that I normally would pass right over and throwing swimbaits.

Day 3 I was with Dave Lefebre, he had a really good tournament and I learned something about finding a spot on a spot when fishing Mille Lacs. Infact I think it's going to be a game changer for me next time I'm there if I can replicate what he was doing with even 50% efficiency. He put on a clinic and was culling 4 pounders by noon. Here is a picture of me in his boat before blast off.


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Craig great picture and looks like you had a great time and learned a lot. ~c~ ~c~

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You got some great draws  ~c~ I guess at an AOY event you odds were stacked...
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What a tremendous learning experience. It's even better when it's water close to home like that. Congrats man.  ~c~
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