B.A.S.S. released the 2020 schedules for its Eastern and Central Opens today and also revealed that the number of Elite Series qualifications that can be gained from the event has been increased from 10 to 12. Elite berths will go to the top 4 points finishers in each division, along with the top 4 from the cumulative standings for both divisions.
Winners of each event will earn an automatic berth into the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, provided he or she competes in all four events in that division.
“The Opens have always been about opportunity, and there are more opportunities available this year,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Not only do we feel like we have a great lineup of lakes in each division, we’re excited about the idea that 12 anglers could have their lives changed by finishing strongly in these events.”
Here's a look at the schedule:
> Jan. 15-17, Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, Kissimmee, Fla.
> May 7-9, Cherokee Lake, Jefferson County, Tenn.
> Aug. 6-8, Oneida Lake, Syracuse, N.Y.
> Sept. 24-26, Lake Hartwell, Anderson, S.C.
> April 9-11, Lewisville Lake, Lewisville, Texas
> May 21-23, Neely Henry Lake, Gadsden, Ala.
> June 18-20, Arkansas River, Muskogee, Okla.
> Sept. 10-12, Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Jasper, Texas
The payout per event will be $250,400 (based on a field of 150 anglers), giving the eight-event circuit a total payout of just over $2 million. Seven of the eight tournaments on this year’s Opens schedule topped the 150-angler mark, with five easily topping 200.
As in the past, the full field will fish the first two days, with only the top 12 pros and co-anglers advancing to the final round. All final-round weigh-ins will be held at the nearest Bass Pro Shops location except for at the final Central Division event at Sam Rayburn.
For the first time since 2013, entry fees will increase on the Opens circuit. Pro anglers will pay $1,800 per event with an $800 deposit due up front, while co-anglers will pay $475 per event with a $200 deposit.
Entry for pro and co-angler linking will begin online Oct. 29 for B.A.S.S Nation and Life members and B.A.S.S. members Oct. 31. The top 30 pros and co-anglers from each Opens division standings in 2019 will receive early entry, as well as current Elite Series pros and B.A.S.S. Nation Championship qualifiers. Any former Elite anglers who are interested in fishing the 2020 Opens should contact tournament director Chris Bowes at email@example.com before Oct. 8 for registration instructions.