SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Bass Pro Shops announced the creation of the Johnny Morris Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships on Monday.
The final championship will be hosted by Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake on Nov. 19, according to a release by Bass Pro Shops. Nearly 700 anglers will be invited to compete and stay in the area.
Amateurs can qualify in one of three ways:
–They finish in the top 40 at one of eight regional qualifier events to make it to the grand championship.
–They win one of several existing fishing competitions organized by the authorized independent dealers of accepted boats
–They are a winning team from one of the three major national collegiate championships.
The championships were created to bring amateur team fishing back to the Ozarks. Registration is open for amateur anglers only, so family and friends are allowed to compete on two-person teams.
“To help grow the sport, regional and international qualifier events will feature division payouts for youth, family teams, all-female teams, veterans, and more,” the release states. “Additional prizes will be offered for the biggest bass and other categories that add to the collective excitement. Johnny is awarding one lucky junior angler (ages 11 – 18) a $250,000 scholarship toward a conservation-related area of study.”
The event is open to owners of Tracker, Ranger, Nitro, Triton, Sun Tracker, Tahoe and MAKO boat brands.
The eight regional qualifying rounds will be held in different states throughout the fishing season. The first event will take place March 21 at Lake Okeechobee in Florida.
–Second event: April 17 - Lake Ray Roberts, Dallas, Texas
–Third event: April 24 - Lake Mead, Nevada
–Fourth event: July 17 - Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
–Fifth event: Aug. 21 - Lake St. Clair, Detroit, Michigan
–Sixth event: Sept. 11 - Old Hickory Lake, Nashville, Tennessee
–Seventh event: Oct. 16 - Grand Lake ‘O the Cherokees, Tulsa, Oklahoma
–Last Chance Qualifier: Nov. 17 - Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas
Online registration for the events opens Feb. 10 for 24 hours starting at 10 a.m. Central Standard Time.
The release states that the championship tournament will last three days and will be internationally televised on NBC in “what is anticipated to be the largest audience in the history of the sport.”
“The National Championship will consist of a 5-fish limit each day, with overall weight recorded determining the champion at the conclusion of the three-day competition,” the release states. “Awaiting the champion is the $1 million cash prize. The angler who catches the biggest bass receives a 21’ fiberglass RANGER, NITRO or TRITON bass boat, a TOYOTA Tundra truck and other incredible prizes.”
An amount equal to all entry fees will be donated by Bass Pro Shops and Toyota to benefit conservation.
All of this falls in the 50th year after Bass Pro Shops birth. Morris was known to fish when he was young and became good at the sport.
“Fishing in the first national BASS tournament on Table Rock Lake in 1970 rewarded me with friends for life and served as my inspiration to start Bass Pro Shops,” Morris said in the release. “Fishing on the BASS Tournament Circuit also helped keep us abreast of the latest emerging trends in fishing and enabled me to stay closely connected to our customers.”