Some of America’s best bass fishing waters and other lesser-known fisheries will play host to competitors in the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation divisionals.
Two Eufaulas (lakes in both Alabama and Oklahoma) will be the site of divisionals, as well as Virginia’s Kerr Reservoir and New York’s St. Lawrence River. Waters such as Montana’s Noxon Reservoir and Indiana’s Lake Monroe that don’t have a long history with B.A.S.S. tournaments but have great competition potential are also on the schedule.
Anglers who have qualified for the divisionals will have the great fortune to compete on these lakes, and the top competitor from each state will advance to the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
“I think what I like most about B.A.S.S. Nation divisionals is the opportunity to go to places that you don’t often think of as well-known tournament destinations, such as Noxon in Montana and Lake Monroe in Indiana,” said Jon Stewart, director of the B.A.S.S. Nation, “and then turn around and go to fisheries like Lake Eufaula and the St. Lawrence River that are very popular.
“It should be another great year on the Nation trail,” Stewart added.
The first divisional of the season is the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula, April 16-18. Lake Eufaula is steeped in B.A.S.S. history. The fishery will likely always hold the record for the heaviest catch — 138 pounds, 6 ounces — over a three-day tournament because the daily limit (15) was so high in 1969. Eufaula was the site of multiple tournaments in the early days of B.A.S.S. More recently, pro Ryan Ingram won a Bassmaster Tour event on Eufaula in May 2006 with a three-day total of 41-8. Eufaula ranks No. 41 on Bassmaster Magazine’s current list of “100 Best Bass Lakes.”
Next up is Noxon Reservoir in Trout Creek, Mont., for the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Western Divisional. This fishery is in the northwest corner of Montana, very close to Idaho and only a 2-hour drive to Canada. Montana has hosted B.A.S.S. Nation divisionals, but it has not hosted other levels of B.A.S.S. tournaments. Competitors will vie for the Western title May 21-23.
Then the schedule takes the B.A.S.S. Nation 1,800 miles southeast to McAlester, Okla., for the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional on Lake Eufaula, June 4-6. Like the other Eufaula in Alabama, the Oklahoma fishery played host to many early B.A.S.S. tournaments, including the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in 1970.
Buggs Island Reservoir in Clarksville, Va., is the site of the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional, June 25-27. Buggs Island/Kerr Reservoir comes in at No. 83 on the 2013 list of Bassmaster’s “100 Best Bass Lakes.” The fishery hosted the Mid-Atlantic Divisional in September 2008, and Delaware competitor Greg Alexander won the event with 27 pounds, 11 ounces.
In August, the B.A.S.S. Nation heads to Lake Monroe in Bloomington, Ind., for the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional. Indiana has made B.A.S.S. Nation headlines the last two years, thanks to Mark Dove, who won the overall 2012 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship and won the Northern Division at the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
New York’s St. Lawrence River concludes the divisionals for 2014. The 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Divisional will go to Waddington, N.Y., Sept. 24-26. The Bassmaster Elite Series pros were just there in August 2013, and Brandon Palaniuk — whose Elite Series berth was earned through the B.A.S.S. Nation — won the event handily with 88 pounds, 12 ounces.
Each state sends a team of its top anglers to its respective divisional. The top angler from each state advances to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, which will be held in October or November at a site yet to be selected.
Date Divisional Fishery City, State
April 16-18 Southern Lake Eufaula Eufaula, Ala.
May 21-23 Western Noxon Reservoir Trout Creek, Mont.
June 4-6 Central Lake Eufaula McAlester, Okla.
June 25-27 Mid-Atlantic Buggs Island Reservoir Clarksville, Va.
Aug. 13-15 Northern Lake Monroe Bloomington, Ind.
Sept. 24-26 Eastern St. Lawrence River Waddington, N.Y.
Image courtesy Seigo Saito/Bassmaster