Benton, KY – Four outstanding fisheries with roots deep in the sport of bass fishing, reduced entry fees and the addition of co-anglers competing for two days highlight the 2012 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series schedule.
Long known for its outstanding bass fishing and history in the sport, legendary Lake Toho will host the inaugural PAA Tour Team Challenge to start the season. The team tournament is set for Jan. 22-28 at Lakefront Park in Kissimmee, Fla. Tournament days are Jan. 26-28, with weigh-ins at Lakefront Park the first two days and final weigh-in at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World on International Drive in Orlando.
“We’re thrilled to start the PAA Tournament Series season in Orlando on Lake Toho with a unique team event the anglers have asked for,” said PAA President Dave Mansue. “This will be a fun, exciting tournament that showcases not only the pros’ skills but also one of the nation’s most legendary fisheries.”
Entry fees for the 2012 Tournament Series will be $2,000 per event for the Pro Division. Deposits will remain at $750 per tournament and are due upon registration.
Co-Anglers will compete in the 2012 Tournament Series events for the first time. Entry fees will be $250 per tournament. Co-Anglers will fish the first two days of each event, with the Pros advancing to the final day with non-fishing observers.
Following the Tour Team Challenge and a short break to avoid overlapping with other schedules, the PAA Tournament Series will head to Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, Tenn., on May 10-12. It will be the PAA’s first visit to Old Hickory.
After the final weigh-in May 12 at Bass Pro Shops in Nashville, veteran country music star Daryle Singletary will perform a free concert for fans. Singletary is known for his hits “Too Much Fun” and “I Let Her Lie,” among others during his career spanning almost two decades.
Old Hickory Lake stretches more than 97 miles long and has more than 22,500 acres and 440 miles of shoreline. An impoundment of the Cumberland River, the lake has numerous coves and tributaries along with offshore structure providing great habitat for numerous species of fish. The lake record largemouth bass, weighing 11 pounds, 1 ounce, was caught May 6, 2000, by Bryan Dover.
Neely Henry Lake and Gadsden, Ala., will play host to the season’s second tournament, scheduled for July 26-28. It will be the second summertime visit for the PAA Tournament Series to this famed Coosa River impoundment.
Kinami Baits pro Steve Kennedy of Alabama claimed the 2010 PAA Tournament Series win on Neely Henry with a gutsy gamble up a small creek in his aluminum flatbottom boat. He bumped and skidded his way into the back pools of the creek on the third day to hold off a furious charge by NetBait pro Greg Vinson of Alabama and win by ounces.
Neely Henry also was the site where Zoom Baits pro Todd Auten locked up the PAA Angler of the Year title. Auten made the final-day cut by running shallow banks with a vibrating jig.
But in 2012, the tour’s top individual honor will be determined on a new venue when the PAA Tournament Series heads to the Arkansas River in Muskogee, Okla. Tournament dates are Sept. 13-15. The legendary river will provide the PAA pros and co-anglers a challenging summertime test of their skills to wrap up the season.
The Arkansas River winds through four states from its headwaters in Colorado and is one of the major tributaries of the Mississippi River. The river stretches 1,469 miles through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“Old Hickory in late spring and the Arkansas River in summer will provide outstanding tests for the pros,” Mansue said. “Both have great history within the sport and have provided exciting moments through the years. Neely Henry is always a great fishery with the opportunity to catch spotted bass and largemouth. The PAA is excited to be going to Old Hickory, Neely Henry and the Arkansas River.”
Team Challenge kickoff
Entry fees will be $5,000 per team for the PAA Tour Team Challenge on Lake Toho. At stake will be cash and a new Nitro Z-8 and Mercury 225 package for the winning team, with a new Nitro Z-7 and Mercury package for the second-place team.
With several other tournaments being held in Florida in January, the PAA Tour Team Challenge offers a great chance for participation on the Kissimmee Chain. Team members must include one PAA Tour-level member, with the second team member being at least an Advantage or Tour member.
“We’re sure some of the anglers will love teaming up with their fellow pros to compete,” Mansue said. “But the great thing is the Advantage member can be a family member, friend or sponsor, too. It’ll be a fun week in an area with great fishing and great family attractions.
“Kissimmee and Osceola County have been great supporters of fishing and the outdoors for decades, and the PAA is excited to begin the new year in Florida,” he added. “From there, we’ll be competing on two new fisheries at Old Hickory and the Arkansas River that along with Neely Henry should provide super competition.”
Lake Toho hosted the PAA Tournament Series season-opener in 2009, won by Bass Pro Shops pro Brian Snowden of Missouri. The tournament was held the week prior to when the PAA Tour Team Challenge is scheduled.
Registration for Pro and Co-Angler divisions begins Feb. 1 for the 2012 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series. Entry fee is $2,000 per tournament. A deposit of $750 (Pro Division) is due upon registration, or full payment may be made immediately.
For more information or to register, contact the PAA at (270) 527-2030.
2012 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series
- Jan. 23-28: PAA Tour Team Challenge, Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla.
- May 7-12: PAA Tournament Series, Old Hickory Lake in Gallatin, Tenn.
- July 23-28: PAA Tournament Series, Neely Henry Lake in Gadsden, Ala.
- Sept. 10-15: PAA Tournament Series, Arkansas River in Muskogee, Okla.