Table Rock Lake to host 2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Missouri’s Table Rock Lake has been selected as the site of the new Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship, set for October 18-20, B.A.S.S. announced today.
The 52,300-acre White River impoundment near Springfield, Mo., has hosted 12 professional Bassmaster events in B.A.S.S.’s 50-year history, and this will be one of the most important of them all.
The no-entry-fee bass tournament pits 28 of the top Bassmaster Opens pros against one another for invitations to compete in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods as well as the prestigious 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series. The Opens tournaments provide the main route to qualify for the pinnacle of professional fishing, and the path is an arduous one.
Beginning this year, anglers competed in one of two divisions — Eastern and Central — consisting of four tournaments each. The Top 10 in performance points, based on their finishes in the events, in each division qualify for the championship. Also going to the finale are the four tournament winners of each trail, making a total of 28 competitors in the pro division. Opens are pro-am events, and the Top 10 co-anglers in the points standings and the four co-angler winners from each division will compete in their own category.
“Table Rock Lake has a storied history in the annals of B.A.S.S. fishing, and we’re anticipating another great event at the Ozarks fishery,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Fans who attend will get to see some of the future stars of the Elite Series — and maybe even next year’s Classic winner — at the weigh-ins or on the water.”
Chris Bowes, Opens tournament director, said the new Opens Series qualification system is designed to select the most experienced and capable anglers to advance to the next level in their careers.
“They have to prove their abilities on a variety of fisheries and at different seasons, and to get to the Classic they have to perform throughout the season — not just in one event.” In past years, the winner of each Open was invited to compete in the world championship.
The Opens Championship winner and the Top 5 in performance points from each division — determined by an angler’s finish in all four divisional tournaments and the Championship —will be invited to the Elites. The winner of the Championship and the Top 3 anglers in points from each division following the Championship will be invited to the Classic.
Takeoff each competition day will be at Bass Pro Shops’ Long Creek Marina, 1368 Long Creek Road
in Ridgedale, Mo. Weigh-ins Oct. 18 and 19 will be at the marina as well, and the final weigh-in will take place at the flagship Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield, Mo. Bass Pro Shops is the local host.