TAVARES — Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Tournament will kick off the season with the first leg of the Florida State Championship on the Harris Chain of Lakes. The two-day event, held on Jan. 24 and 25, is a national qualifier for the 2014 National Championship to take place in September at Lake Washington in Greenville, Miss.
The nine-lake Harris Chain boasts thousands of acres of lakes and wetlands and is regarded as a premier fishing destination in Florida.
Florida is often referred to as “The Fishing Capital of the World,” however; few areas in the state produce so many “big-catch” prospects as Lake County. The large 13,788-acre Lake Harris and smaller 3,359-acre Little Lake Harris provide ideal fishing in the Harris Chain, and are coveted fishing spots for anglers all over the country.
“Due to Lake County’s pristine natural resources like the Harris Chain, fishing is one of our niche industries,” said Robert Chandler, Lake County’s director of economic development and tourism. “The economic impact for the county when hosting an event of this quality and magnitude is tremendous. Plus, anglers generally spend more money than typical visitors, purchasing their gas and bait within the county.”
Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Tournament’s weigh-ins, which are open to the public, will be held at Wooton Park, 100 E. Ruby St., Tavares on both Friday and Saturday. Fishing hours are between 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Late entry and voucher pick up is at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the Tavares Civic Center, 100 E. Caroline St., Tavares, with the rules seminar beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Wooton Park for a free kids fishing rodeo that will be held from 9 – 10:30 a.m.
The local tournament is sponsored by the City of Tavares, Lake County Florida, Lakeview Inn, Al’s Landing /Top Shelf/ Dockside, Inn on the Green, Sandy’s Bait and Tackle, Nobles Marine, O’keefe’s Irish Pub & Restaurant and Casa Mia Restaurant.
For details on the tournament, visit www.crappiemasters.net. For more information about planning a trip to Lake County, log on to www.VisitLakeFL.com, call 352-742-3918 or visit the Lake County Welcome Center at 20763 U.S. Highway 27 in Groveland.