KINGSTON, Tenn. — In mid-September, Kingston will host anglers from across the country for the St. Croix Bassmaster Open.
The competition will be from Sept. 14 through Sept. 16, with daily takeoffs at 7:15 a.m. from the Kingston Boat Ramp. Weigh-ins will be back at the ramp at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The ramp leads out onto the Watts Bar Reservoir — a popular tourist destination on the Tennessee River. Wright said it had been around 50 years since Bassmaster last had a major event on Watts Bar Lake.
"It's a challenging lake. But the Bassmaster Open Series this year has had some diversity in where they fished, and so we hope the anglers look forward to the challenge that Watts Bar Lake holds," said Stephanie Wright, a Kingston councilwoman.
Anglers will be able to reel in largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass with the tournament's 15-inch minimum size limit. Only anglers who fish all nine Opens this season are eligible for the Elite Qualifiers Division. After the final three Opens of the year, the top nine eligible anglers will receive invitations to fish the 2024 Bassmaster Elite Series.
Kingston Parks and Recreation said Ladd Landing and 58 Landing boat ramps and parking lots will be closed Wednesday night until Saturday evening for the event. They also said most ramps in Roane County would likely have more traffic than usual due to anglers practicing for the tournament.
Information on how to attend and watch the tournament is available on Bassmaster's website.
"The economic impact is a lot more than what people think. These guys, 225 boats and anglers, they stay in our hotels. They eat in our restaurants. They buy the gas. They buy the ice. And so, we are going to be collecting that data this week, and hopefully, we'll get some good results from that," said Wright.