When the second annual BASSfest celebration gets underway June 3, 124 of America’s best bass anglers will be focused on one goal — winning the lion’s share of the $850,000 prize purse.
Fans attending the event June 3-7 will have a multitude of options to keep them entertained for days, however.
The Zippo Bassmaster BASSfest at Kentucky Lake presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps will feature an outdoors expo, a carnival for kids, an arts and crafts show and more. On Friday, June 5, Bassmaster University will offer must-attend seminars taught by Bassmaster Elite Series pros and B.A.S.S. staff.
Fishing fans and their families can join in all the fun for the five days. All B.A.S.S. events are free. Following are 25 things to see and do at BASSfest in Paris.
1. Take off with the anglers. On Wednesday and Thursday, June 3-4, the full field of 124 competitors — including 111 Elite Series anglers and 13 from the Opens Series — will blast off from Paris Landing Marina at 6:15 a.m. to fish Kentucky Lake. And, on Saturday and Sunday, the top anglers will take off from the same dock in hopes of earning the $100,000 first prize.
2. Who will earn a second shot? On Friday, June 5, anglers who finished below the Top 50 on Thursday try to redeem themselves on Lake Barkley (takeoff at Lick Creek State Park at 6:15 a.m.) for a second chance. All weights are zeroed for this one-day shootout, and the Top 10 anglers advance to Saturday’s semifinal competition.
3. College teams clash. While the pros compete, college anglers will also battle on Lake Barkley June 3-5 in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Wild Card presented by Bass Pro Shops. Takeoff will be at 5:30 a.m. at Lick Creek Recreational Area, with the weigh-in on Friday on the main event stage at Paris Landing State Park. The weigh-in will determine which teams will head on to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops July 9-11 on Lake DuBay on the Wisconsin River.
4. Watch us — live! On Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., be sure to log on to Bassmaster.com and follow the competition with the new Bassmaster Live on-the-water coverage. Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders from The Bassmasters television show, and B.A.S.S. emcee Dave Mercer will be on-hand with commentary.
5. Get to know the High School All-American team. B.A.S.S. recently named 12 outstanding high school anglers to the first Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team. At BASSfest, these 12 anglers will be paired with Elite Series pros who are not competing Saturday to fish Lake Barkley in a one-day competition. See these 12 star students weigh in on the Elite Series stage prior to the official Elite Series weigh-in.
6. Feel that horsepower. Blast off in a new bass boat during a free demo ride. Rides are offered after takeoff Friday, Saturday and Sunday by the Skeeter Performance Boats Demo Tour, Yamaha’s 2015 Discover VMAX SHO Demo Tour, Mercury ProXS Demo Tour, the 2015 Triton Demo Tour and the Nitro Boats Demo Tour.
7. Entertain the kiddos. Kids can have hands-on fun at the petting zoo at Paris Landing State Park, before taking a whirl on the rides at the kids’ carnival, complete with cotton candy and other carnival foods.
8. Enjoy live music. Following the weigh-in Friday, fans can enjoy live music from three different singer-songwriters. Philip White has written songs for country music greats such as Rascal Flatts, Reba Macentire and Blake Shelton. Monte Holmes, who has penned songs for George Strait, will perform as well, followed by Scotty Emrick, who wrote well-known lyrics for Toby Keith, Billy Currington and more.
9. Check out the outdoors expo. More than 125 national and local exhibitors, including a variety of food and beverage vendors, will be on hand starting at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday. Locally, be sure to stop by the Tennessee National Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Center and Land Between the Lakes booths, plus more.
10. Score lots of freebies. Minn Kota will register fans to win a great Minn Kota product. One lucky fan will win an Evan Williams Bourbon Cooler prize pack on Sunday. And Carhartt will offer chances to win Carhartt-branded prizes with a spin-to-win game.
11. Follow us! Use the hashtag #bassmaster on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest or Facebook to keep an eye on the action. And check out the BASSfest Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/1487037278214938/ for pictures and updates.
12. Kids’ fishing fun. Let your children join in the fishing competition fun Friday with catfish races starting at 1:30 p.m. and a kids’ fishing rodeo.
13. Inspect new lures and reels. The Berkley Experience Trailer will be at the outdoors expo with free seminars about how to use different types of lures. Shimano will have a casting-target course set up to test your accuracy.
14. Hone your fishing skills. Bassmaster University will convene on Friday, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., offering free how-to seminars. Learn from Elite Series pros and Bassmaster staff, including bait techniques, lure presentations, electronics and motors, flipping, pitching and more. New topics begin every half-hour. For information on-site, please visit the B.A.S.S. booth.
15. Get crafty. Visit the arts and crafts show at the event grounds, featuring more than 80 vendors.
16. Discover new gear. Be sure to check out the latest products from Allstate, Costa, Huk and Star brite at the outdoors expo.
17. Trick out your truck. Take a look at the latest gear for your truck with A.R.E. Truck Caps, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels and Rigid Industries so you can pull your boat to the lake in style.
18. Master electronics. Get advice on your marine electronics from Humminbird and Lowrance. Experts will be on-site to answer any electronics questions you may have.
19. Try your luck. Toyota fans can try their luck and win prizes in the Toyota Dice Roll game. You can also charge your cellphone — for free! — in the truck bed of a Toyota Hiring Our Heroes Tacoma. Enter to win a Bass Pro Shops gift card with the Tundra Puzzle Block Challenge, find out more about Bonus Bucks and take photos with anglers from the Toyota Fishing Team.
20. Tech talk. Stop by the Livingston Lures booth to learn about its sound-producing lure technology and to check out lures for purchase.
21. Shallow-water savvy. Power-Pole will display various models of shallow-water anchors at the outdoors expo, including the Pro Series and the Micro Anchor.
22. Win big with Fantasy Fishing. Fans can choose their Top 5 Elite anglers for a chance to win a $2,500 Bass Pro Shops gift card and a grand prize (for the full season) that includes a boat and motor. Visit Bassmaster.com/Fantasy to learn more.
23. Keep an eye on the competition. Download the Bassmaster News App or visit Bassmaster.com for up-to-the-minute blog posts, photos and videos from on the water.
24. Win your own GoPro camera. The GoPro experience trailer will be onsite and offering tutorials on how to perfect your photography and video skills. Stop by the GoPro truck to learn about the latest products from GoPro, daily HERO4 giveaways, tips and tricks to get the most out of your GoPro camera.
25. Spin to win. On Saturday and Sunday at the B.A.S.S. expo booth, visitors can win prizes by taking a turn at the Spin ‘N’ Win wheel.