Bassmaster Elite Series coming to Clayton
CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - One of the biggest fishing series will be making its final stop of the season in Clayton in less than two weeks.
It’s a stop both officials and anglers look forward to each year.
We’re less than two weeks away from the 2023 Minn Kota Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River setting up shop in Clayton.
The tournament, which runs from August 24-27, is the final stop of the season for the Bassmaster Elite series.
“That is correct,” said Chris Bowes, who’s vice president of tournament. “So, we’ll crown our Progressive Angler of the Year there as well as our Dakota Lithium Rookie of the Year and find out who our 2024 Bassmaster Classic qualifiers that’s going to be held in Tulsa next March. So, it’s going to be a super exciting week up there.”
Bowes says the affiliation with the Clayton area is something that dates back to the ‘80s and ‘90s when the Open series closed its season in Clayton.
Last year, Jay Przekurat hauled in the largest four-day total in Bassmaster history with 102 pounds to take home the title. Bowes says that’s one of the reasons the stop in Clayton is one of the most popular on the tour.
“That fishery is just chock full of fish from end to end,” Bowes said. “There’s a reason it was last year’s number one lake in the whole country, and it’s fallen all the way down to number two in 2023. It’s got the attention of the anglers. It’s got the attention of people that want to go recreational fish. Obviously, it’s a beautiful area.”
The competitors on the tour have said in the past that the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario are spots they like to come back to and fish in the off season and with the Minn Kota Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River being the final stop on the Elite series, Bowes say it may be more than a week’s stay for some of the Elite series anglers.
“Some of the guys, this is it for the year for them,” he said. “You know, a lot of them fish other tournaments but for some, the Elite Series, that’s exclusively what they fish. So, they’ve got some downtime. You’ll see a bunch of them stick around and fish for a week, maybe on the St. Lawrence. Obviously, the off-limits will no longer be a factor, and Lake Ontario.”
Another reason the stop on the St. Lawrence is one of the top events on the circuit is the overwhelming support the anglers and the officials get not only from the fans, but local and state officials as well.
“I mean, it’s outstanding,” Bowes said. “Fans in northern New York always turn out and they’re passionate, they know the sport. Obviously, we’ve been coming there so they’ve kind of seen the players a little bit and understand it. Then our hosts there in Clayton and Waddington both, they really roll out the red carpet.”
And with good reason, as one of the biggest events of the season sets up shop right here in the north country once again this year.
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