Professional, collegiate and state-level bass fishing tournaments are being canceled, postponed and rescheduled due to the threat of Coronavirus infection. The Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation, Bassmaster, and Big Bass Bash have all released information regarding their individual tournament events.
Alabama BASS Nation High School – 3/14/2020 – Due to the official state-wide closures of Alabama schools and school athletic events through April 6, we are postponing the Lake Pickwick tournament scheduled for March 28. While some fishing teams are not associated with schools, nearly 90% of our teams are considered part of the school athletic program, and must adhere to school system athletic policies which prohibit them from participating in events during emergency school closures. We were looking forward to having a great tournament year, and do regret having to make this decision, but we wanted to make the announcement early so coaches, anglers, and parents could plan accordingly.
No plans have yet been determined for a potential make-up date, but you can be assured Alabama BASS Nation High School will explore all possibilities. We do hope you understand, and apologize for any inconvenience.
Thank you for your understanding
3/13/2020 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Due to public health concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), B.A.S.S. officials announced today they will postpone the Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake originally scheduled to be held on the Dayton, Tenn., fishery March 19-22.
“Any time we are forced to postpone a tournament it is disappointing to our anglers, fans, sponsors and staff,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “The anglers want to fish this incredible lake, where we have enjoyed amazing fan support over the years. After careful discussions though, it was apparent that the best decision was to postpone the tournament and festivities.”
The decision comes after the number of Tennesseans infected with the coronavirus doubled to 18, and Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency on Thursday. The CDC has also recommended that those at higher risk for contracting the disease or those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 should avoid crowds and events to help prevent the spread of the virus. This has prompted other outdoor sports, including NASCAR, MLB and the PGA, to postpone or cancel events.
The Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation published an alert today that said, “Despite zero reports of COVID-19 in the State of Alabama, the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation will implement the following measures (and) precautions for anglers, staff, and public safety. The B.A.S.S Nation will postpone the Lay Lake tournament and re-schedule it when appropriate. The Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation will keep you updated on the future status of upcoming tournaments.”
Major League Fishing and the FLW have announced, ” the suspension of all public gatherings associated with their events through April 12, 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made to safeguard the health and well-being of all involved. Public gatherings include all fan meet-n-greets associated with the Bass Pro Tour, and the attendance of fans and non-essential staff at all FLW tournaments, including weigh-ins.” The announcement also said, “Due to the nature of competitive bass fishing, the league will continue to host tournaments for participating anglers. Decisions regarding future events will be made in the coming weeks as the league monitors the situation with COVID-19 under the guidance of medical and Public Health professionals.”
Additionally, “The 2020 Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley will be canceled and rescheduled to another time yet to be determined.”
Continuing the release, “This decision is based on the COVID-19 public health threat and the recent decisions by many major sporting groups to cancel their events. This includes the fact the NCAA has canceled all men’s and women’s sports events for the rest of the winter and spring season. As always, safety is of the utmost concern to our staff and sponsors, and that won’t ever change. We look forward to seeing everyone on the water again soon,” Wade Middleton, Director of Association of Collegiate Anglers.”
Also published was that, at this time, the 2020 BoatUS Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops is still set to be held at its scheduled date.
However, the Bassmaster College Series event at Lake Hartwell has been postponed. B.A.S.S. officials announced today they will postpone the 2020 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Lake Hartwell presented by Bass Pro Shops scheduled for March 26-28.
As a precaution, several schools with teams registered for the event have informed anglers and coaches that they are not allowing student-athletes to participate in sporting events and tournaments, even those events being held outside.
B.A.S.S. is monitoring the situation with local officials, and following precautions and advice outlined by the CDC and the World Health Organization. One of those precautions is avoiding large indoor crowds, like what teams would encounter at registration and angler briefings.
Frequent checking of your scheduled tournament’s status might be a very good idea as organizations are having to react quickly to changing conditions due to the spread of the Coronavirus infection.