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World's top anglers coming to Muskegon County for championship | Community Spirit

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World's top anglers coming to Muskegon County for championship
World's top anglers coming to Muskegon County for championship

MUSKEGON, Mich.— The lakeshore is getting ready to welcome the top bass fishermen in the world.

The Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota All-Star Week and the Evan Williams Bourbon Championship will take place on Muskegon and White lakes September 27 to September 29.  Bob Lukens with the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau says the event will attract 14 of the top bass anglers in the world, including Kalamazoo native Kevin VanDam, Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace and the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year. The top eight anglers in the bass standings have also been invited to the event; the remaining anglers voted in by fans include Gerald Swindle of Alabama, Brandon Palaniuk of Idaho, Michael Iaconelli of New Jersey and Skeet Reese of California.

This is the first time Muskegon County has hosted such an elite event. Lukens says the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society picked Muskegon County because of its excellent bass, perch and walleye fisheries, which are among the best in the Midwest.  The championship fishing event is expected to attract between 2,500 and 5,000 people to the lakeshore each day.

Lukens says if the event is a success, the hope is Muskegon County will become a venue for the Bassmaster circuit, with events that usually attract 100 to 110 anglers.

The Bassmaster Elite Series All Star Week weigh-ins will take around 4 p.m. every day at Heritage Landing.  Lukens says it’s a catch and release competition, so after each angler weighs their top five catches, they will release the fish back into their native waters.

Heritage Landing will also host additional festivities during the competition, including live performances by local bands Friday and Saturday nights and a variety of children’s activities. “Yard Sale Underwear” will take the stage 6 p.m. Friday and “Dutch Henry” will play 6 p.m. Saturday.  All of the activities are free and open to the public.

The Bassmaster Elite Series All Star Week will be taped for ESPN2 for a show that will air about 20 days later.  The winner will take home $50,000; the remaining $50,000 in cash prizes will be split up among the runners-up.

The event’s local sponsors include:

  • Alcoa Howmet
  • Ramos and Sons Auto Body
  • City of Whitehall
  • Raymond James Financial Services
  • Tyler Sales/Budweiser
  • Bundeze
  • Clifford Buck Construction
  • Frontier Communications
  • Muskegon Sport Fishing Association
  • Sundolphin
  • White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Muskegon County
  • City of Muskegon

The Bassmaster Elite Series All Star Week events will run from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.  For more information, visit the Bassmaster website here.

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