2023 Gamakatsu Bassmaster Elite held at Lake Seminole, draws international competitors
Published 11:21 am Monday, February 27, 2023
This weekend is a milestone for Bainbridge, as it is the first time in 10 years since the town has hosted a Bassmaster tournament, this time the 2023 Gamakatsu Bassmaster Elite, on Lake Seminole. The tournament has drawn 104 participants from not just all over the country, but from around the world, with competitors from Canada, Australia and Japan coming to town to compete.
Bainbridge Community Affairs Director Crystal Hines spoke with the Post-Searchlight about the process of bringing Bassmaster back to Bainbridge; namely, a bidding process. “So they reached out to me to see if we were interested in hosting them, and so then in turn, I submitted a bid for what we were willing to pay and what negotiations we could go into from there.” She continued, “They take that to a selection committee, and then approve 10 tournament trails for that year.” Hines disclosed the bid amount as $45,000. “There were lots of other conditions on that,” she elaborated, “we don’t comp hotel rooms, they pay all their own travel, we provide ice and help out with the expo side of it.”
The top 50 anglers will progress to Saturday, and only the top 10 will move on to fish on Sunday. As of the writing of this article, the top 10 anglers are, in order: Joey Cifuentes III with 10 fish and a weight of 45 pounds, 14 ounces; Michael Iaconelli with 10 fish and a weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces; Greg Hackney with 10 fish and a total weight of 38 pounds, 12 ounces; Austin Felix with 10 fish and a total weight of 38 pounds, 6 ounces; Bob Downey with 10 fish and a total weight of 37 pounds, 2 ounces; Tyler Rivet with 10 fish and a total weight of 36 pounds, 15 ounces; Jonathan Kelley with 10 fish and a total weight of 36 pounds, 4 ounces; John Cox with 10 fish and a total weight of 36 pounds; Jason Christie with 10 fish and a total weight of 35 pounds, 5 ounces; and Caleb Sumrall with 10 fish and a total weight of 34 pounds, 14 ounces.
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“This is just a huge economic development for the city, and the region for that matter,” Hines said. “There’s 104 anglers, that travelled with spouses, children. They bring their staff of about 50, and that doesn’t even count all these expo vendors that came into town. So it’s just a huge economic boost in what would traditionally be kind of a down time.”
The Post-Searchlight will provide further updates on the tournament results.