They say your college years are the best of your life. If the 2014 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series schedule is any indication, it’s true. Covering five geographic regions and some of the best bass waters in the country, the college series will crown a new national champion in 2014 and send a talented young angler to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
The action starts early in the new year with the Southern B.A.S.S. Conference Regional on legendary Lake Okeechobee out of Okeechobee, Fla., Jan. 3-4. The Southern Conference covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and west Tennessee. In 2013, Auburn University at Montgomery (Alabama) won the national championship from this conference, and the Lee brothers (Matt and Jordan) from Auburn University have earned the most recent College Series berths in the Bassmaster Classic.
The second Regional Championship in 2014 covers the Midwestern B.A.S.S. Conference (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, west Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin). That regional will be held on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks out of Osage Beach, March 28-29. Last year, the Milwaukee School of Engineering took top honors in this region.
In April, Louisiana’s Ouachita River out of Monroe will host the Central B.A.S.S. Conference (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas) Regional, April 11-12. The weigh-in for the event will be held on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. New Mexico State University took two of the Top 3 spots in last year’s regional, but redistricting puts that school in the Western B.A.S.S. Conference in 2014, opening the door for a new champion.
The Western B.A.S.S. Conference Regional covers schools in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The Regional Championship will be held on Clear Lake out of Clear Lake, Calif., May 15-16. The 2013 regional was also on Clear Lake, and the fishing was outstanding. Oregon State University won that event with almost 55 pounds over two days as three teams posted limits of bass averaging better than 5 pounds.
Watts Bar Lake and Dayton, Tenn., will be the site of the Eastern B.A.S.S. Conference Regional, June 13-14. The Eastern Conference is made up of schools in Connecticut, Delaware, east Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, east Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. In 2013, University of North Carolina-Charlotte dominated this region.
The Dayton, Tenn., tournament will be held in conjunction with the sixth Bassmaster Elite Series stop that highlights a new celebration of bass fishing, BASSfest. The weeklong, fan-friendly festival will be held June 11-15 and features a $1 million purse.
Just two weeks after the final regional championship, the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series will have a Wild Card tournament on Pickwick Lake out of Florence, Ala., June 27-28, with the weigh-in on campus at the University of North Alabama. There, teams that failed to qualify for the National Championship through their respective regionals will have a final chance to earn a trip to the big dance.
In 2013, six of the Top 10 teams in the National Championship earned their way there through the Wild Card. Auburn University’s Jordan Lee and Shane Powell used the Wild Card route to get to the championship and then to the Bassmaster Classic Bracket, where they went head-to-head for a spot in the Super Bowl of bass fishing.
Lee won the competition and will compete in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 21-23, on Lake Guntersville.
Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Carhartt
Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Humminbird, Koppers LIVETARGET, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Quantum, Yamaha
Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Supporting Partners: Diet Mountain Dew, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Luck-E-Strike, Power-Pole, Shimano
Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Proud Partner: Mustang Survival
Images courtesy B.A.S.S.