2018 Bassmaster Classic returns to Lake Hartwell

Casey Ashley won 2015 event with a three day total of 50 pounds, 1 ounce

The 2018 Bassmaster Classic is returning to familiar waters.

The 48th annual world championship of professional bass fishing will be held March 16-18 in Greenville, S.C. on Lake Hartwell, which played host to the Classic in 2008 and most recently in 2015

Takeoffs will be from Green Pond Landing and Event Center, a modern, $3.1 million launch facility in Anderson, S.C., that was completed just in time for the 2015 Classic and was built to accommodate large bass tournaments.

“Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a repeat customer,” said Chris Stone, President and CEO of VisitGreenvilleSC. “Seeing the wild enthusiasm outdoorsmen have for the Bassmaster Classic has made this a must-attend road trip for area anglers. The entire upstate will have its collective arms wide open to welcome back our friends in March 2018.”

Perhaps no Classic in history has shown the strength of a fishery like that 2015 event, when temperatures made such a monumental dip. It was just 9 degrees for the opening morning of the tournament — a morning that featured the National Anthem being performed by South Carolina angler Casey Ashley — and competition was delayed with the anglers’ safety in mind.

Despite the conditions, there were still multiple five-bass limits of 20 pounds or more brought across the scales, and Ashley needed an average of more than 16.6 pounds per day to win.

“It was really just an amazing thing to watch,” said Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. tournament director. “The conditions were tough — some of the toughest we’ve seen for a B.A.S.S. event, especially a Classic — and the lake still produced so many good fish. It’s a credit to the fishery and to the quality of our anglers — and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we’ve decided to go back.”

After that 2015 Classic, which was held Feb. 20-22, B.A.S.S. elected to back up the date for the 2016 event on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees to March 4-6. This year’s Classic, which is scheduled for March 24-26 on Lake Conroe near Houston, Texas, should also be warmer.