Nation’s top anglers compete in Clayton

Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 5:23 PM EDT
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CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - A cross-country trek pitting some of the nation’s best anglers against one another is culminating in Clayton.

Since February, anglers have made their way from Florida to Texas as part of the annual Bassmaster Elite competition. Now they’ve reached the last leg of their journey, Clayton.

“They’re fishing lakes, they’re fishing rivers, they’re fishing through rainstorms. All types of temperatures. In order to call themselves the best they really need to fish a variety of different conditions,” said Eric Lopez, Director of Operations, B.A.S.S.

Hosted at the Antique Boat Museum, the event has an assortment of activities to offer to spectators. Folks are able to try their luck on a crane machine, and even take rides on a demo bass boat.

“There’s plenty for the families to do, the anglers to do. A lot of fishermen are traveling with their families. A lot of sponsors are here,” said Lopez.

The sights aren’t the only thing that sets Clayton apart. Fish in the St. Lawrence River, especially smallmouth bass are renowned for their size. That makes a good show for spectators.

“There’s nothing that beats a smallmouth bass. The fight, the power. Here on the St. Lawrence, you have a chance of catching a lifetime fish. There’s some big fish in this river system,” said spectator Jamie Nyce.

Bassmaster representatives tell us at this point the competition is neck in neck. With such massive fish, anglers have to make their last days count if they want to take home the $100,000 grand prize.

“Most events, a 20-pound limit which is 5 fish weighing 0 pounds or more that’s doing well and really setting yourself up for success. Here 20 pounds barely has you in the top 50,” said B.A.S.S. Communications Manager Emily Harley.

The tournament will run through Sunday. Doors open on Saturday at noon.