CONROE, Texas – The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC), the world championship of professional bass fishing, announced its final field of competitors today. The three-day event, to be held on Lake Conroe, combines the top Professional Anglers Association members from the Walmart FLW Tour, Bassmaster Elite Series and Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series. The field of 50 anglers will compete for the unified world championship Oct. 28-30.
“The quality of anglers and competition in our tournament is unmatched by any other fishing tournament in the world,” said Tournament Director Lenny Francoeur. “We have created an event that truly determines the world champion of bass fishing and sets the standard for tournament fish conservation. We want everyone to experience this great event, so we are now offering free tickets to come and enjoy the festivities.”
The TTBC field of 50 professionals is comprised of 2010 defending champion Brian Snowden, the top 15 anglers from the 2011 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year standings, the top 15 from the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year standings, the top 15 from the 2011 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series Angler of the Year standings and four tournament exemptions. Mike Iaconelli, Kelly Jordon, Gary Klein and David Walker have been selected as the four exemptions.
The TTBC qualification criteria ensure that the field is representative of the best anglers in the world. The tournament is the only event in the world of professional bass fishing that brings the best anglers from the major tours together on the same lake to compete for one title.
The anglers in the field have combined for at least 136 major tournament wins among 36 professionals, led by Kevin VanDam’s 20 titles and 17 for Denny Brauer. In addition, 13 anglers in the field have earned 22 Angler of the Year titles across three leagues. There are also 15 championship titles from the TTBC, Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood Cup. All totaled, the TTBC anglers have combined to earn over $60 million in tournament fishing. Texas has the most anglers in the field with 10, followed by Alabama with nine.
Headlining the field of competitors is the top-ranked angler in the world, Kevin VanDam. VanDam is the all-time leading money winner in professional fishing with over $5.5 million earned. He is a seven-time Bassmaster Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year and 2001 FLW Tour Angler of the Year. VanDam has also won four Bassmaster Classic titles including back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011.
Also returning to Lake Conroe is 2010 runner-up Mike Iaconelli. Iaconelli, the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion, is a fan favorite because of his outgoing personality and passion for fishing.
David Dudley, the 2011 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year, will also bring his talents to Lake Conroe. He will be joined by 2011 PAA Angler of the Year Todd Auten. Auten has back-to-back top-10 finishes in the TTBC, eighth in 2010 and third in 2009.
Limited quantities of tickets are free this year to the three-day outdoor music festival and professional bass fishing world championship through exclusive tournament partners. Free tickets are only available while supplies last through respective sponsor promotions, by visiting Houston-area Toyota dealerships or Academy Sports + Outdoors stores and online at toyotatexasbassclassic.com. Walk-up tickets the day of the event will require a donation towards the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and all days are subject to sell out. The daily tickets are valid for admission into the festival grounds for angler weigh-ins and the live concert of that particular day. All activities, including concerts, weigh-ins, interactive expo areas and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Adventures Area will take place at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center’s festival grounds in Conroe.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic tournament functions are operated by the Professional Anglers Association with technical assistance and support from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division. Title sponsor for the event is Toyota. Additional sponsors include Evinrude, IKON, Oakley, Carrot Stix, US Reel and Mustang CAT. Corporate partnership opportunities are available for 2011.