Louisiana waters will play host to two of the three Central Opens on the Bassmaster Open schedule for 2016.
The three-division, nine-tournament Opens schedule will span 10 months, visit seven states and off nine invitations to the Bassmaster Classic.
Central Open No. 1 will be held in the Atchafalaya Basin out of Morgan City Feb. 18-20, with the Red River in Shreveport/Bossier City hosting Central Open No. 3 Sept. 29 - Oct. 1. Central Open No. 2 will be held on the Arkansas River in Muskogee, Okla. June 2-4.
“The 2016 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens schedule offers a diverse group of fisheries,” Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO said. “Natural lakes, reservoirs, rivers and tidal waters all have a place on this schedule. It should challenge anglers and reward those who are the most skilled and proficient at adapting to the various fisheries and conditions.”
Anglers will compete for a portion of more than $250,000 awarded at each Open event, including a boat-and-motor package to the winners. And the winning pro, if he or she competes in all three events within a division, will earn a berth in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic.
“I look forward to seeing all the competitors and watching the season unfold,” Chris Bowes, B.A.S.S. senior tournament manager, said. “I have the unique opportunity to watch firsthand as dreams come true and B.A.S.S. history is made.”
Competitors earn performance points at each tournament, and the Top 5 in each division are invited to join the Elite Series — the most prestigious bass fishing circuit in the sport — the following year. In recent years, nearly all who received Elite bids have joined the tour.
“More than half of the current Elite Series field has qualified through the Bassmaster Opens,” Bowes said. “I’m excited to see who the additions from the 2016 Opens will be.”
Weigh-ins will be held lakeside during the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday of each tournament week. The 12 finalists who earn the right to fish on Saturday will weigh their catches in at nearby Bass Pro Shops stores, except for the Lake Champlain event which will remain at the original location.
In addition to the three Central Opens, the 2016 schedule is as follows:
No. 1 — Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, Kissimmee, Fla., Jan. 28-30
No. 2 — Smith Lake, Jasper Ala., March 31-April 2
No. 3 — Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn., May 19-21
No. 1 — Oneida Lake, Syracuse, N.Y., June 30–July 2
No. 2 — James River, Richmond, Va., Aug. 18-20
No. 3 — Lake Champlain, Plattsburgh, N.Y., Sept. 22-24