ATHENS, Texas -- The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC), the World Championship of Professional Bass Fishing, brings the best set of qualified anglers to Lake Fork, May 9-11. The three-day tournament combines the Top 15 in Angler of the Year (AOY) points from all three major tournaments including the Walmart FLW Tour, Bassmaster Elite Series and the PAA Tournament Series. Daily tournament weigh-ins, outdoor expos and country music concerts will add to the daily excitement of this event.
“We’re extremely excited to have the most outstanding anglers in the world competing in the 2014 Toyota Texas Bass Classic. This tournament can truly say that we have the best of the best competing on the most historical bass fishing lake in Texas. From legendary anglers to Lake Fork rookies, the competition will be fierce, the bass will be enormous and I can’t wait to see who will take home the trophy and title of World Champion,” said Tournament Director Lenny Francoeur.
TTBC’s record for partnering with anglers, the fishing industry and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in support of fishing, education and conservation is unmatched.
Since its inception, the TTBC has raised $1.75 million to support fishing and outdoor education programs of TPWD.
Through its support of TPWD’s Neighborhood Fishin’ Program, the TTBC has made 300,000 catfish available in metropolitan areas throughout Texas, enabling more than 80,000 people annually to fish close to where they live. About half those people are first-time anglers.
TTBC funds have provided a Take-Me-Fishing trailer and nine “how-to-fish” videos that have been featured at 74 events and reached more than 40,000 people. The videos have been viewed online by more than 200,000 people.
Funds from the TTBC support the Texas division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, making the Texas contest one of the largest in the country. Some 5,000 young Texas artists have entered the contest, which uses science, art and fishing to interest youth in the outdoors.
A top concern among bass anglers is survival of the fish they catch. The TTBC pioneered and each year showcases a tournament format that ensures a near-100 percent survival of fish caught in the tournament. TPWD hopes the TTBC tournament format will become the model for bass tournaments across the country.
Final field qualification for both last year and this year’s TTBC events are based on 2013-2014 Angler of the Year points races. The 2014 TTBC field is one of the strongest to date; field accomplishments include a combined $64 million in career earnings, 234 tournament victories, 21 AOY titles and 18 major championship wins.
Keith Combs, the only two-time champion in the history of TTBC (2011, 2013), will defend his title in his home state of Texas. Former champions Brian Thrift (2012), Brian Snowden (2010), Kelly Jordon (2008) and Terry Scroggins (2007) will also compete. Both Jordon and Scroggins qualified as sponsor exemptions in addition to fan favorites Mike Iaconelli and Gerald Swindle.
“TTBC is my favorite event of the season! Considering how an angler has to qualify for this event it is the strongest field that we compete against all year,” Combs said. “I spent some time this past winter familiarizing myself with Lake Fork. It will be a late spring/early summer tournament which means a lot of movement, and it will take big weights to win.”
Due to the 16-inch to 24-inch slot limit on Lake Fork, there are no professional competitions held there, so this will be the first time, since the 2008 TTBC, that professional anglers will take to the water for a pro competition. They will compete on Lake Fork for three days, May 9-11, 2014, with the field being reduced to the top 10 for the final round on Sunday, May 11. The tournament will remain a non-entry fee event and all 50 competing anglers will receive guaranteed prize money.
Through a continued partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), TTBC will continue its focus on conservation efforts and adhere to a strict catch, weigh and immediate release format.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic will be located on the grounds of the Sabine River Authority (SRA) just east of the Lake Fork dam. The Outdoor Expos, TPWD Adventures Area, Bass Pro Shops Kid Zone, and the live concerts will all take place at SRA.
The TTBC tournament functions are operated by the Professional Anglers Association with technical assistance and support from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division. Toyota is the title sponsor for the event. Official sponsors of TTBC are ATX Wheels, Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, Geico, Leer Truck Caps, Republic Services, HOLT CAT, Shakespeare Ugly Stik, Tellespen, Yamaha, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Brookshire’s, TLC Radio, KYKX 105.7, 104.1 The Ranch, KMOO 99.9 and the Coca-Cola Company. Tickets are currently on sale. For more information visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com or call 1-866-907-0143.