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Bassmaster College Series Returns to James River

RICHMOND, Va. — For the first time since 2016, the Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops will head to eastern Virginia to take on the mighty James River April 21-22, and Bassmaster Elite Series pro and Richmond resident Ed Loughran III expects giant bags to be caught.

Bassmaster College Series Returns to James River
“It should be a very good tournament. It should be very easy to catch fish,” Loughran said. “It wouldn’t shock me to see the winning weight being close to 50 pounds. There just are too many big fish rolling around and so many 2- to 4-pounders in the river system that someone will catch them. You will see a couple of really big fish caught. There should be several in the 7- to 9-pound category.

“It should be fun for everyone coming here; even if they don’t know the place.”

With 110 miles of the lower James River, as well as several other river systems that flow into the James, there will be plenty of room for the 275-boat field to spread out throughout the vast tidal system.

“There are fish from one end to the other,” Loughran said. “You can stay within a mile of the ramp, you can run all the way to the Chickahominy Dam, which is 60-some miles, and you can fish anywhere in between. You can go up the Appomattox River. There is so much water to fish and there are bass in all of it.”

Last year, the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens showed off just how good the fishery can be in the spring. During that three-day event, 10 bags over 20 pounds were brought to the scales with a multitude of limits surpassing the 15-pound mark.

With the potential for bass being in all three stages of the spawn, Loughran expects the College Series event to have that same feel.

“They should be pretty close to spawning,” he said. “It depends on how warm it is. There will be some spawning. I’m not sure if it will be every fish. It will be similar to last year. There are very few times I have been able to sight fish. Usually, you are blind fishing in those spawning areas. It has to be kind of out of the current or they could be adjacent to those spawning areas.”

Not only will there be plenty of water to cover, there are several different cover options anglers will need to pick apart. The river is full of cypress trees and other wood cover along with lily pads and docks. On the upper section of the river, there are several old gravel and sand pits that can be accessed.

“All but two of them are accessible, but fish go in there to spawn so people can go in there and drag stuff or throw shaky heads and wacky worms,” Loughran said. “That is all within a couple miles of the ramp.”

There are a variety of baits that could play, depending on how the spawn sets up. Creature baits like a Missile Baits D Bomb or a Zoom Brush Hog will be good options, as well as Senko-style worms. 2022 James River Open champion Kenta Kimura utilized a crankbait and a buzzbait to win and a big swimbait could potentially play as well.

full field of 275 teams representing colleges from around the country will launch from Osborne Park and Boat Landing at 7:10 a.m. ET and return for weigh-in at 3:10 p.m. Full coverage will be available on Bassmaster.com.

Visit Richmond and Henrico County, Va., are hosting the event.
2023 Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Strike King
2023 Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2023 Bassmaster College Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2023 Bassmaster College Series Premier Sponsors: Dakota Lithium, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2023 Bassmaster College Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Lew’s, Marathon, Triton Boats, VMC

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