The only two Bassmaster events to take place on the Tennessee River are owned by the Humminbird and Minn Kota team. In 2019, Ott DeFoe won the Bassmaster Classic on his home waters and again in 2021, Jeff Gustafson won the Bassmaster Elite event on the same body of water in dominating fashion. Now in 2023, another pro will look to carry on the streak of dominance at the Tennessee River and chase this year’s Bassmaster Classic title.
The second ever Bassmaster Classic out of Knoxville, Tennessee will begin on Friday, March 24th and showcase 55 of the best anglers from all avenues of the B.A.S.S. organization. The anglers will compete for a life-changing achievement and $300,000. For Jeff Gustafson, he is looking to add a Tennessee River Bassmaster Classic trophy to sit alongside his regular season Bassmaster Elite Series trophy from the same body of water.
“I have been traveling the country and fishing bass tournaments for over ten years and if there is anything that I have learned about reservoirs, it’s that year after year they are never the same,” said Gustafson. “I won in 2021 with all smallmouth bass and I am sure that program will exist and it will be easier now that I have Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging, but I’m not sure Smallmouth will be what wins this one. The Bassmaster Classic is exciting in that points do not matter in this event, my approach won’t change because of that, but the way I fish this week might.”
The Reigning Champ
Former Bassmaster Classic champion Ott DeFoe, who calls the Tennessee River home, knows full well what it takes to win on this body of water this time of year.
“I live here, I’ve fished here my whole life. The river and the conditions are always changing things but being able to see exactly what’s going on under the water with Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging, you know right where to make every single cast,” DeFoe said. “The rock transitions are really subtle, not big depth changes, but with 360 imaging, you’re able to pick it up and that’s what sealed the deal for me and what will help out the anglers running it in the Classic.”
Humminbird and Minn Kota have a lot of anglers in the hunt, look to these anglers to make a big statement on the Tennessee River:
- Keith Combs
- Bob Downey
- Jeff Gustafson
- Carl Jocumsen
- Lee Livesay
- Chad Pipkens
- Brandon Palaniuk (2022 Angler of the Year)
- Casey Smith
- Chris Zaldain
“This is an exciting time for our anglers. They’re equipped to be able to go out and win an event that could change all their lives in just a matter of three days,” said Field Promotions Manager, Tim Price. “The Bassmaster Classic is an incredible event and we’re looking forward to watching our guys compete on a river system that Humminbird and Minn Kota pros have done exceptionally well on in the past.”
On Friday, March 24 you can look to the shores of the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tennessee to watch Humminbird and Minn Kota pros look to claim their spot on the 2023 Bassmaster Classic podium.
In addition, the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo will be held on Friday, March 24 to Sunday, March 26. You can find Humminbird and Minn Kota at booth # 3425. Come by to visit with the legendary Hank Parker, other Humminbird and Minn Kota pros, and learn more about the inaugural Humminbird and Minn Kota Owners Tournament that is being held in June of 2023.