BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S. officials announced the slate for the 2022 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, with nine tournaments in three divisions covering nine states as the pathway to some of the most-coveted invitations in all of professional bass fishing.
After starting late in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Opens schedule will return in 2022 to a late-winter start date with the first tournament, a Southern Division event, set for Feb. 3-5 on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla.
From there, the Opens will wind through Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, New York and Maryland.
“Interest in the Opens from both anglers and fans has been at an all-time high the past few seasons,” said B.A.S.S. chairman and CEO Chase Anderson. “The excitement is only growing as Opens anglers enjoy success on the Bassmaster Elite Series. In fact, 2020 Opens Angler of the Year Bryan New won his first Elite event in February this year on the St. Johns River. The competition has been intense, and we’re thrilled to spotlight the future stars of our sport.”
The winners of all nine Opens will earn a berth into the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, provided they have fished all three events in the division where their win occurred. In addition to Classic berths, the Top 3 anglers in every division and the Top 3 in the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year overall standings will receive invitations to fish the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series.
“Twelve anglers will earn the right to fish professionally — to live their dreams on the most prestigious professional tour in bass fishing,” Anderson said. “And just like Chris Jones, who finished third at this year’s Bassmaster Classic as an Opens qualifier, nine anglers will have a chance at instant stardom in the Classic.
“Those are the things that will be on the line every time anglers take off for an Open.”
Starting the season in Florida has become a tradition for most of the major trails at B.A.S.S., and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes has been a favored destination of late. The organization’s most recent visit there was for a 2020 Eastern Open that was won by New.
After Kissimmee, the Southern Division will visit Cherokee Lake in Jefferson County, Tenn., March 31-April 2, and Lake Hartwell in Anderson, S.C., Oct. 6-8.
B.A.S.S.’s most recent visit to Cherokee was for a 2020 Eastern Open won by Kentucky pro Matt Robertson, while Hartwell is a common B.A.S.S. destination that is scheduled to host the iconic Bassmaster Classic for the fourth time, March 4-6, 2022.
In the Central Division, events will be held on Ross Barnett Reservoir in Ridgeland, Miss., April 28-30, the Red River in Shreveport-Bossier, La., Sept. 22-24, and Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas, Oct. 20-22. It’ll mark the first visit to Ross Barnett since 2018 and 35th time B.A.S.S. has held a major event on Sam Rayburn, dating back to 1968.
The trip to the Red River will be the first one for B.A.S.S. since the 2018 Central Open won by South Carolina pro Patrick Walters. Most notably, the fishery was the site of the Bassmaster Classic in 2009 and 2012.
“Shreveport-Bossier City is excited to host the 2022 Bassmaster Open on the Red River,” said Kelly Wells, executive director of the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. “We look forward to providing world-class hospitality for anglers and their families here in Sportsman’s Paradise! We also want to give a special thank you to the Red River Waterway Commission for co-hosting this incredible event.”
The Northern Division slate will include visits to the James River in Richmond, Va., April 14-16, Oneida Lake in Syracuse, N.Y., July 7-9 and the Upper Chesapeake Bay in Cecil County, Md., Sept. 8-10. The latter tournament will mark B.A.S.S.’s first visit to the Chesapeake since a 2015 Elite Series event won by Alabama pro Aaron Martens.
“We are thrilled to be hosting a prestigious Bassmaster Open tournament in Cecil County’s Upper Bay waters,” said Cecil County Executive Danielle Hornberger. “We consider Bassmaster anglers to be VIPs and look forward to showcasing the best of Cecil throughout their visit. Competitors and fans can expect to find beautiful scenery, vibrant small towns and fabulous Chesapeake Bay inspired cuisine while exploring Cecil County, Maryland.” As in the past, the full field will compete the first two days before the boater side is cut to 10 anglers on Championship Saturday. The co-angler champion will be crowned after the Day 2 weigh-in. Entry fees will remain the same for the 2022 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. Online registration for both pro and co-anglers will begin Nov. 9 for B.A.S.S Nation and Life members and B.A.S.S. members Nov. 11. “It’s always nice to have a good mix of fisheries that are familiar to us and places we haven’t been to in a while,” said Opens Tournament Director Chris Bowes. “We definitely have that with the 2022 schedule — and we have a diverse collection of fisheries that will test the versatility of our anglers.
“That always makes for a great tournament season.”
In 2022, FOX Sports will continue to broadcast live coverage from Championship Saturday of each of the division final tournaments on FS1 and the FOX Sports digital platforms.
2022 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Schedule
Feb. 3-5, Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, Kissimmee, Fla.
March 31-April 2, Cherokee Lake, Jefferson County, Tenn.
Oct. 6-8, Lake Hartwell, Anderson, S.C.
April 28-30, Ross Barnett Reservoir, Ridgeland, Miss.
Sept. 22-24, Red River, Shreveport-Bossier, La.
Oct. 20-22, Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Jasper, Texas
April 14-16, James River, Richmond, Va.
July 7-9, Oneida Lake, Syracuse, N.Y.
Sept. 8-10, Upper Chesapeake Bay, Cecil County, Md.