The Bassmaster Central Open returns to the Red River this week as 180 anglers compete for almost $50,000 in cash and merchandise, as well as the opportunity to qualify for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.

The event’s co-anglers, who compete against each other from the backs of the pros’ boats, are after a Triton 17 Pro with a Yamaha F115LA engine valued at more than $25,000, according to a press release.

Eilite Series pro Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark. won the 2013 Open on the Red River, and after Monday’s practice, said he’s looking forward to the Thursday-Saturday event.

“I grew up fishing the lower Arkansas River, which is very similar to the Red. So when the fishing’s tough and half the field is intimidated by the nasty water, I feel like I know how to get in there like a bulldozer and power over anything and get to the bass,” Browning said in the release. “The river reminds me of how it was last year.

 “The water might be a little higher, and the vegetation hasn’t grown fully — probably because of the extended winter — but it’s much the same.”

Browning said he’s expecting post-spawn patterns to prevail for the competition.

“I’m pretty confident that the majority of the bass are in a post-spawn situation. I know these fish like to spawn in February and March, and there was enough good weather for most of them to have spawned already,” Browning said.

He thinks low teens will be necessary on Thursday and Friday to get into the Top 12 to compete on Saturday.

“It’s one of the fisheries where 13- to 15-pounds a day is really good. I like the Red because if you fall a little bit behind, you can catch 17 or 18 pounds to get caught back up. I don’t ever feel like I’m out of it on the Red,” said Browning, who leapt from 12th place to score his Red River win last year.

Central Open anglers will take off Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:30 a.m. from Red River South Marina 

Weigh-ins the first two days will be at the marina beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday’s Top 12 weigh-in will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Bossier City Bass Pro Shop, the release states.

The winner will qualify for the 2015 Classic provided he or she competes in all three Central Opens of the season.