|Wishing all our valued readers a very safe and loving holiday!|Collin Smith of Anderson, S.C., has won the 2022 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship Classic Fish-Off on Lake Hartwell with a two-day total of 28 pounds, 1 ounce and will advance to the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic. (Photo: BASS)
BASS PRESS RELEASE
ANDERSON, S.C. — Collin Smith has spent much of his life honing his skills on the waters of fabled Lake Hartwell
All that work paid off Saturday with his win in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship Classic Fish-Off.
Smith, a 27-year-old grounds foreman for Anderson County, weighed a two-day total of 10 bass totaling 28 pounds, 1 ounce to claim victory in the final Bassmaster event of the 2022 season. With it, he earned entry into the biggest tournament of the 2023 season — the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, scheduled for March 24-26 on the Tennessee River in Knoxville.
“I’ve dedicated the majority of my time to this pond (Hartwell) because all the big tournaments are out here,” Smith said. “I’m superthankful for the chance to fish the Classic. It probably won’t set in until I’m going up the road there for pre-practice ... It’s been a lifelong dream. There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears behind the steering wheel of my boat to get me to this point.”
No doubt there were dozens more miles added this week on Lake Hartwell, with Mother Nature throwing a variety of looks at the 500 anglers who started the team portion of the tournament on Wednesday. That two-day event was hindered by dense fog, but Smith and 5 Alive Sunday Series teammate Brady Kimbrell, also of Anderson, totaled 30-13 over two days to win the team title and the $25,000 cash prize that accompanied it.
Their performance set the stage for Smith’s ascension in the Fish-Off. The Top 3 teams, only six anglers in all, had their weights zeroed and then set out individually for two more days of competition. They were greeted by steady rain on Friday when Smith and Tyler Campbell of Martin, Ga., both caught 14-1 to tie for the Day 1 lead.
The temperature plummeted into the lower 40s by the final weigh-in, but Smith remained steady, following his Day 1 total with a 14-pound limit on Day 2 — just enough to nose him past Campbell, who wound up second with 27 pounds over two days.
The final day of the Fish-Off didn’t start swimmingly for Smith. The deep timber he exploited on Friday didn’t produce Saturday. Smith said that could have been due to changes in barometric pressure that followed repeated weather shifts in the region.
Popular braided line now offered in high visibility color option