TTBC Continues to Evolve


Things are taking a little more shape with the Toyota Texas Bass Classic angler qualifications from the three bass fishing leagues. There are only two events left to determine the field.

The second PAA Tournament Series event was held in mid-June at Table Rock Lake and one final tournament remains. The final tournament will be held in August on Neely Henry Lake in Alabama, and will be a challenging tournament in the summer heat and humidity. The FLW Tour also wraps up its regular season in Alabama, this month on the Tennessee River's famed Pickwick Lake.

We'll update you on the final standings after the FLW Tour event and the PAA Tournament Series finale to let you know who will receive automatic TTBC invitations. The top 15 from each league's final points standings get invitations to the Oct. 28-30 TTBC on Lake Conroe.

Now's a good time to look at a little history of the TTBC to see how far it's come in a short period. From the earliest inklings to the fruition of that dream, the TTBC is the world bass fishing championship and only tournament to unify the best anglers from the top professional leagues.

The inaugural Toyota Texas Bass Classic was conceived by Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioners Dan Friedkin and Donato Ramos, and was developed by the Texas Bass Classic Foundation. The TTBC was created to highlight the unique conservation methods of Texas Parks & Wildlife on Lake Fork in northeast Texas.

Forty four-angler teams - 160 anglers total! - competed on Lake Fork in April 2007 with a unique format that honored the lake's slot limit but also used certified observers with on-the-water scales. Anglers could weigh slot fish (not allowed in traditional tournament formats) and count them toward their teams' total.

Teams split their fishing sessions, and fans enjoyed live scoring from the water while attending the expo area. More than 70 vendors were there along with country stars Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence for headline entertainment. Terry Scroggins, Chris Daves, Frank Ippoliti and James Niggemeyer took home the trophy and $250,000.

Some refining in Year Two

The TTBC returned to Lake Fork for the second year, but refined the field to 104 PAA pros and 26 four-person teams that competed for two days before being cut to five teams.

More than 30,500 people attended the event and watched the weigh-ins, with the team of Kelly Jordon, Lance Vick, David Smith and David Walker claiming the win. Country music star Trace Adkins headlined the entertainment and was joined by Texas' own Robert Earl Keen, Kacey Musgraves and Roger Creager.

Making some moves

After two years at Lake Fork, the TTBC moved to October and Lake Conroe northeast of Houston and has enjoyed great success on the water and with fan support from the surrounding community.

With ample room for parking and expo vendors along with the massive weigh-in and concert stage, the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center is a perfect venue for the TTBC festivities. Thousands of fans have attended to hear such standout performers as Montgomery Gentry, Blake Shelton, Josh Turner, Pat Green and others following the final weigh-in featuring the top 10 anglers.

Following a few days of official practice, the festivities begin Thursday at La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa with the pro-am tournament featuring the anglers and guests on Lake Conroe. The fun event gives the pros one more day on the water and the guests a chance to mingle with the best anglers in the world while having a little intense, but friendly, competition.

The TTBC begins the following morning with two days of full-field competition. Lake Conroe can be challenging in autumn but the anglers always figure out ways to bring in big catches and make the TTBC what it is - a super event with the best pro bass fishermen in the world.

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