City lands top BASS event with ESPN coverage
Published 11:59 am Monday, September 30, 2013
The City of Bainbridge will not just expect several thousand visitors for River Town Days this year in March, but will be expecting upwards of 8,000 to 10,000 for the combination of the annual festival and the B.A.S.S. kickoff event for the Bassmaster Elite Series to be held the same weekend of March 13- 16.
Held on the waters of Lake Seminole, 100 of the Elite Series anglers will dock at the Earl May Boat Basin and begin the 2014 season. From there anglers will head to 10 other states across the country.
This will be the first Elite event on Seminole and the first B.A.S.S. event on its waters since a Bassmaster Southern Open in 2010.
Bainbridge native J. Todd Tucker is the only Elite competitor in the top 100 that will fish in the event that is from the state of Georgia.
“That is why it is so awesome they are bringing an event to Georgia like this,” Tucker said, who is sponsored by the City of Bainbridge.
Tucker credits Jack Wingate, local fishing legend, for bringing one of the first B.A.S.S. tournaments ever to Lake Seminole.
“So the history in our fishing industry runs extremely deep here,” Tucker added.
The event will be aired on ESPN and Tucker imagines the interest generated in Lake Seminole will be unrivaled by other places.
“Bainbridge will be recognized as one of the hottest places in the world as far as bass fishing goes,” Tucker said. “This will be huge economically for us because of the people who are going to want to come and visit and the people that are going to want to come and look at the lake. The guide businesses will be able to reestablish themselves, our marinas will become a lot busier, our hotels will get booked and restaurants will be visited.”
Tucker said he is thrilled for Lake Seminole to get this kind of coverage because he has been fishing the lake since he was 12. He said the lake has never been as pretty as it is today and all of the anglers will take notice and want to return.
The City of Bainbridge has the same hopes for the impact of the event. Executive Director of the Bainbridge Convention & Visitors Bureau, Adrienne Harrison, said the city is happy to be hosting an event of this size.
“This is such an awesome event for Bainbridge and the community because we are the Bass capital of Georgia and there will be a spotlight shone on Bainbridge with both the anglers being here and there fans,” Harrison said.
Tucker will be fishing the event and said, because of his hometown connection, he wants to come away with a win.
B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin made an official statement last week for the release of the 2014 schedule.
““We’ve just finished an Elite Series season that saw record attendance, record Internet traffic and record media coverage,” Akin said, “but we’re already looking forward to all that 2014 will hold.”
The Elite Series, which has included eight events for the past five years, will grow to nine tournaments.