Fishermen are already visiting Havre de Grace in advance of the Bass Masters Elite Fishing Tournament coming to the city in July, Visit Harford! Executive Director Greg Pizzuto said last week.
The Bassmaster Elite Series is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments, according to the website, www.bassmaster.com/elite. Competitors must qualify for the series through the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens or the B.A.S.S. Nation, and anglers who are already on the Elite Series must re-qualify each year by maintaining enough points throughout the season. The pro anglers compete all season for the opportunity to win points toward the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic.
“We’ve already seen anglers coming through,” Pizzuto said, including one from New Jersey who helped film commercials for the tournament that will air in the spring. “They are excited. Bassmasters is very excited to be coming.”
The anglers will fish off the shores of Havre de Grace for five bass per day. Then they’ll bring in their catches and take them to Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, where they’ll be weighed. The fishermen with the highest combined weights of the five fish move on.
About 100 anglers will be in the city July 26 and 27 to begin the tournament. They will be whittled down to the best 50 on July 28 and then the top 12 will compete on Sunday, July 29.
The tournament will be aired on ESPN2 and will feature live streams at the weigh-ins.
He also pointed out that most of the fish caught in the tournament go back into the water as soon as they’re weighed.
Pizzuto said the tournament will benefit the businesses in downtown Havre de Grace.Fishermen are already eating at local restaurants and paying docking fees and will be coming into the city in greater and greater numbers in the spring as the tournament nears to get familiar with the river, Pizzuto said.
“We want them to enjoy all the amenities we have here in Harford County,” he said.
In terms of assistance from Havre de Grace, Pizzuto said Visit Harford! will work with the city over the next couple months in terms of access to the marina, portable toilets and trash pickup.