Several S.C. colleges and universities will be among 44 schools and 130 teams coming to Georgetown from across the nation next month to participate in the Bassmaster College National Championship.
The tournament, sponsored by Strike King, will take place on Winyah Bay Sept. 2-4, with daily boat launch from the Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex at 6:30 a.m. and weigh-ins on Front Street at 2:30 p.m.
The competition for a spot in this year’s championship was fierce, said Beth Goodale, director of Georgetown County Parks and Recreation, which is hosting the tournament. She expects competition for the championship title to be just as strong.
S.C. schools competing this year include Coastal Carolina University, Lander University and Erskine College.
Other participating schools include: Adrian College, Arkansas Tech., Auburn , Baylor University, Bethel University, Blue Mountain College, Bryan College, Campbellsville University, Carson Newman University, Catawba Valley Community College, Dallas Baptist University, Drury University, East Texas Baptist University, Emmanuel College, Florida Gateway College, Georgia College, Grand Valley State University, Greenville University, Hinds Community College, Jacksonville State University, Kent State University, Kentucky Christian University, King University, Lamar State College Orange, Liberty University, Marshall University, McKendree University, Minnesota State — Mankato, Mississippi State University, Missouri State University, Murray State University, N.C. State University, Northwestern State University, Sam Houston State University, Southern Union State Community College, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M University, UNC—Charlotte, the University of Alabama, the University of Louisville and the University of Montevallo.
T.J. McKenzie of Andrews will comprise one half the team from Emmanuel College.
This year’s event will again feature free concerts on the Bassmaster Stage on Front Street, courtesy of the Georgetown Business Association, Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and the Hammock Coast.
Carolina Beach Music band Too Much Sylvia will take the stage on Friday, Sept. 2. The Blue Dogs, a country-rock band from Charleston, will play on Saturday, Sept. 3. Both shows begin at 8 p.m. Beer, wine and other beverages will be available for purchase. In the event of rain, the performances will move to the Winyah Auditorium.
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.
Anglers are scheduled to converge on Georgetown Aug. 30 and 31 for pre-fishing days. Bassmaster will set up its stage at the intersection of Front and Broad streets on the morning of Sept. 1.
“We are thrilled to welcome college anglers and their families to Georgetown County for the Bassmaster College National Championship in September,” Goodale said. “We hope we’ll see the kind of enthusiasm we saw from residents at past events and encourage members of the public to come out and celebrate with us.”
Boat launches and weigh-ins are open to the public. Fishing fans are encouraged to come out and support their favorite college/university teams.