The best college fishing teams in the country will take to Georgetown County’s five rivers this September, when Bassmaster returns to Winyah Bay. Georgetown County Parks and Recreation will host the 2022 Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops from Sept. 2-4.
The event will bring 260 anglers and 130 boats to the county, with teams coming from universities across the nation. Qualifications are based on the teams’ finishes in four regular-season stops held on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes, Lake Norman in North Carolina, Arkansas’ Norfork Lake and Saginaw Bay in Michigan. A final Wild Card tournament on Alabama’s Logan Martin Lake gives teams waitlisted for the other events one last chance to make it into the field for Winyah Bay.
“We’re excited to offer college anglers an incredible championship tournament experience,” said Glenn Cale, B.A.S.S. Nation tournament manager — College, High School and Junior. “I am thrilled that we are able to get these young anglers onto this extraordinary tidal fishery as they compete for a national title and a chance to fish the Classic.”
The County hosted a Bassmaster event annually from 2015 to 2019, but the tradition was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgetown County last hosted Bassmaster in March 2019, when Bassmaster brought its Elite series to town. The last time the county hosted the College Series was in March 2017. That event featured a pair of familiar names atop the leaderboard. Current Elite Series pros Patrick Walters and Jonathan Kelley finished first and second en route to the 2017 National Championship, where they were bested by a team that included fellow Elite angler Jacob Foutz.
“We are thrilled to welcome college anglers and their families to Georgetown County for the Bassmaster College National Championship in September,” said Beth Goodale, Georgetown County Director of Recreation and Community Services. “A number of activities and events are planned throughout the weekend so that our residents can celebrate along with tournament participants.”
Competitors will not only be fighting for a national championship but also a berth in the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk on the Tennessee River via the College Classic Bracket tournament.
The leading anglers in the Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year points standings will be determined after the four regular-season events. The Team of the Year will punch their ticket to the College Classic Bracket event, which will be held later this year. The College Classic Bracket takes the Top 3 teams from the National Championship plus the Team of the Year and places the individual anglers in head-to-head bracket-style competition for a berth in the Classic, where they will compete for a prize purse of over $1 million.
Bassmaster tournaments generate a considerable economic impact for Georgetown County, considering anglers’ hotel stays, restaurant visits, fuel and grocery purchases, plus the same for family and friends who travel to watch the tournament weigh-ins.
As with previous tournaments in Georgetown, boat launch will take place daily at dawn from the county’s Carroll A. Campbell Marine Complex, with weigh-in occurring at the same location for the first two days of the tournament. However, the final day’s weigh-in will move to Front Street, where finalist anglers will parade through on their way to the stage. Local fishing fans and businesses are encouraged to turn out for boat launch and especially weigh-in to pull for their favorite college team.
Businesses along Front Street will be encouraged to put out flags, banners and other items supporting participating universities, as well as take advantage of foot traffic on Front Street by setting up merchandise outside to lure potential customers.
Look for more details to be released this summer as the tournament nears.