Skip to main content

Bassmaster Classic draws biggest crowd ever

Bassmaster

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Bassmaster Classic drew its largest crowds ever this weekend, with 153,000 people attending the launch and the three-floor Expo that accompanies the event. The arena where weigh-ins happened after the fishing ended each day also drew standing-room-only crowds.

People from the area packed the Thompson Boling Arena to see hometown native Ott DeFoe weigh in his three-day total of 49-3 to win the trophy.

Saturday’s launch at dawn, a chilly and windy morning, drew 6,500 spectators cheering for their favorite angler.

Here is some video from the event:

The crowds have grown since the event began putting cameras on some of the top-scoring anglers and in the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo, according to Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall.

“Four years ago, we came up with the live concept,” said Hall, gesturing to three commentators on camera in the hall on Sunday. “It changed how people consumed the sport. We went from a couple of cameras to 20 on the water, and four here in the hall. It’s really changed how bass fishing tournaments are followed.”

Ott DeFoe gets emotional after winning the $300,000 purse.

Ott DeFoe gets emotional after winning the $300,000 purse.

The consumer show drew hundreds of vendors and shoppers to the Knoxville Convention Center and World's Fair Exhibition Hall. It is the largest consumer sport fishing venue in the country, according to organizers.

The entire event is free, and exhibitors say that makes a difference.

“You can’t even go to a local boat show without paying admission,” said Hunter Cole, senior marketing manager for Pure Fishing, which includes popular fishing brands like Abu Garcia and Berkley. “But because of the hard work of B.A.S.S., this is free.”

There have been an increasing number of families and children at the event, said Cole.

“I’ve been to 33 of these things, and the crowd has been active and buying,” said Cole. “We are seeing so many beginning rods and reels sold. From where we were five years ago, there are probably triple or quadruple the number of families at the event. We don’t have anything negative to say about the Classic. No matter how much competition there is, there is only one Classic.”

Related

FUTURE-ANGLERS

FAF Brings New Anglers into the Fold

The nonprofit organization will leverage Giving Tuesday on Nov. 29 to raise funds for its grassroots fishing and boating participation efforts.

1_NAOS.YACHTS.EXPANDS

Naos Yachts Plans New Offices

The San Francisco Bay area location will expand the dealer’s midcoast footprint and help grow its Groupe Beneteau, Lagoon, Neel, CNB Yachts, Four Winns and Wellcraft brands.

1_THANKSGIVING

Trade Only Today Returns Monday

The e-newsletter will not publish Thursday, Nov. 24, and Friday, Nov. 25, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

CORRECT-CRAFT-ORPHANAGE

Correct Craft Gives Back

Employees spent a day serving at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, impacting more than 500 kids in need.

1_GH.ELECTRIC.HOIST

GH Motion Launches All-Electric Lift

The GH70e mobile boat lift is powered by a modular solar/battery system and has a 65-ton capacity.

1_PULSE.PING

Dealers: Are You in Compliance?

A new FTC Safeguards Rule designed to protect consumers’ personal information goes into effect Dec. 9 — are you prepared?

1_NMMA-CANADA

NMMA Canada President Steps Down

NMMA Canada president Sara Anghel is leaving the recreational boating trade group after nearly 15 years of service.

1_DEALER.OUTLOOK

Ohio Ordered To Get Serious About Algae

Many are applauding a judge’s proposed consent decree that will serve as a roadmap to address western Lake Erie’s chronic algal blooms.