San Antonio, TX – The 2023-24 season of the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series started this fall, as the Association of Collegiate Anglers contested two major no-entry-fee, nationally televised, double points events. Those two events were the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley on Kentucky Lake, and the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open at Lake Dardanelle. Across those two events combined the ACA set new participation records for its organization, as over 1,000 anglers competed on the major college trail.
“The new season has gotten off to a great start this year,” said Wade Middleton, ACA Director and President of CarecoTV. “It is exciting to see the growth and excitement around college fishing. From angler participation being at a record high to hundreds of schools competing for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia, as well as more and more anglers submitting discount requests for various series partners’ programs…we are looking forward to carrying this momentum over to the new year and second half of our season.”
The 2023-24 season for the ACA began with the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley at Kentucky Lake in Henry County and Paris, TN. This year’s edition of the angler-favorite event boasted a record setting field. A total of close to 600 anglers participated in this two-day big bass format event that paid out over $30,000 in prizes and contingencies, along with double points to count towards the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. The previous attendance total for this specific event was close to 550 anglers.
Record-breaking attendance continued for the ACA at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, AR. Nearly 500 anglers showed up to compete at the second ACA no-entry-fee, nationally televised event of the fall. This tournament featured a payout of over $20,000 in prizes and contingencies, as well as double points for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.
“This fall has been a great first half to the 2023-24 season for the ACA,” said Kyle Curry, ACA Managing Director. “We greatly appreciate the support from our series partners, host sites, anglers, coaches, and schools that help to make this all possible.”
Along with the valuable prizes and points up for grabs at both evets, the Top 10 finishing anglers/teams at each tournament earned an automatic qualification into the 2024 Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. Two Top 10 ranked teams lead the pack with the most automatic qualifications earned. 2nd ranked Carson-Newman University has six automatic qualifications via Top 10 finishes. 6thranked Murray State University has secured five automatic qualifications to compete in college fishing’s longest-running National Championship event at Pickwick Lake in May of 2024.
Each of the no-entry-fee events boasted robust payouts and significant points awarded to the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. This fall, all total, the ACA awarded well over $50,000 in prizes and contingencies, as well as more than 300,000 School of the Year points.
The spring season for the ACA will begin in April at Lake Hartwell with the Hartwell Slam. View the 2024 schedule, and learn more about the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.