GADSDEN -- Gadsden and Neely Henry Lake have been selected as a tournament host for the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2021 – a first for the area.
The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) announced that the tournament will be held from May 6-9 at Coosa Landing in downtown Gadsden.
Hosted by the City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation Department and Greater Gadsden Area Tourism, the tournament will attract 85 top professional anglers from across the country and internationally.
Neely Henry has hosted major B.A.S.S. tournaments three times, including the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open in October, but the lake has never hosted a Bassmaster Elite tournament.
Greater Gadsden Area Tourism expects a significant impact to the local economy from the tournament.
Early estimates from October’s three-day tournament projected more than $1 million in impact, and a 2019 study by Jacksonville State University reported $10.4 million of economic activity from tournament bass fishing on the Coosa River and Neely Henry Lake in Etowah County in 2017.
“While the anglers are in town, they are buying fuel for their boat and tow vehicle, tackle and supplies, lodging, food, and other products and services,” said Hugh A. Stump III, executive director for Greater Gadsden Area Tourism. “Many anglers come to town in the days or weeks before the tournament to pre-fish and work out patterns for the tournament days.”
The tournament will also bring national media coverage to the Gadsden area.
B.A.S.S. has signed a FOX Television deal for coverage of Elite Series tournaments, and the network will air three hours live each weekend morning of the tournaments.
“Attracting an Elite has been a five-year process,” Stump said. “Growing tournament fishing on a regional and national level is a big win for Gadsden and Etowah County.”
“We’re as excited about this schedule as any that we’ve ever put together for the Elite Series,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “It features a good mix of venues that have become fixtures for B.A.S.S. and a few we’ve been to before but haven’t visited in a while.”
The Bassmaster Elite Series is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments.
Competitors must qualify for the series through the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens or the B.A.S.S. Nation, and anglers who are already on the Elite Series must re-qualify each year by maintaining enough points throughout the season.
The pro anglers compete all season for the opportunity to win points toward the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic.
For more information, please visit www.bassmaster.com.