You may notice an influx of anglers descending on West Lake Toho in Kissimmee if you’re planning a trip down to the lakefront in the next few days. The First Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Eastern Open of the year gets underway this Thursday and runs thru Saturday. Anglers from all up and down the East Coast and some from as far away as the West Coast will be getting as much pre-fishing in as possible ahead of the B.A.S.S. Tournament.
There will be an estimated four hundred contestants, two hundred on the Pro side and two hundred on the Co-angler side. Anglers will be paired up with different partners each day. The field will be knocked down to the top twelve from both sides with the most weight after two days. They will get to return on day 3, Championship Saturday. There is close to $300,000 in payouts between cash and merchandise awarded.
Take off will begin at 7 a.m. each day with the first flight of boats returning just before 3 p.m. for the live weigh-in to begin. Weigh-ins will be held at Big Toho Marina both Thursday and Friday and at Bass Pro Shop’s Orlando, located at 5156 International Drive on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m.
The last time a B.A.S.S. Open was held here in Kissimmee was in 2016. Local angler Cody Detweiler missed his chance and dream of qualifying for the 2017 Bass Masters Classic by just 2 ounces to winner Wesley Strader. When Detweiler was asked his thoughts on the upcoming Open he stated “ I believe the tournament could be very interesting, due to the recent weather changes.” “ It could go either way, it could be very tough or it could be very good.” Cody is entered again in this upcoming Open as well as the other Eastern Opens this season. He has been out on the lake working on his strategy. “ I expect see a lot of big fish weighed in, and lots of limits being caught.” said Detweiler. He feels the whole Kissimmee Chain is fishing better than it ever has before, which should make this tournament even more challenging. Maybe his home lake will bring him better luck and success this year. He will be easy to spot on the water this time with his boat wrapped with his new sponsor, Gatorland.
I hope you get the chance to attend one of the weigh-ins. Bring down a young angler who may be interested in a future in bass fishing. Most anglers stop and take the time to sign autographs or pause for pictures. I know this personally…lol. This experience is great for the whole family. Be sure to email me your photos to email@example.com. I hope to see you down there!! Tight Lines Friends.