The annual Bassmaster Classic is much more than a fishing tournament
Mercury Racing was on hand in Knoxville as the bass angling community descended on central Tennessee March 24-26 for the annual Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic® presented by Toyota. The event annually draws more than 100,000 bass angling fans, with 5,000 showing up to watch anglers take off each day from Volunteer Landing in downtown Knoxville to fish the Tennessee River headwaters, and huge crowds at the daily weigh-in held in Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. At the end of three days of competition, Canadian angler Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson won the Ray Scott Trophy and $300,000 for the Classic championship, with 42 lb. 7 oz. of large mouth and small mouth bass in the live well of his Mercury Pro XS-powered Lund boat. Eight of the top-10 anglers in the tournament were Mercury-powered.
While the anglers are on the water, visitors can enjoy the Outdoor Expo, a trade show of bass angling featuring more than 200 exhibitors set up on three levels of the Knoxville Convention Center and adjacent World’s Fair Exhibition Hall. This is where Mercury Racing found a home for the weekend, with a display of high-performance Mercury Racing propellers and the Mercury Racing 300R, 400R and 450R outboards. While these outboards exceed the 250hp limit for BASS tournaments, many of the pros are running a Mercury Racing Bravo I® FS propeller to extract maximum performance from their boat/engine package. This includes pro anglers running other outboard brands.
High-performance bass boats powered by Mercury Racing outboards, including Blazer, Allison, and Bass Cat, were displayed in a special area of the Expo.
“Mercury Racing has forged some outstanding partnerships with boat builders in the very high performance bass segment,” said Steve Miller, Mercury Racing director of customer experience. “We both appeal to customers seeking a premium product that offers thrilling performance while still being very capable angling platforms.”
“We got tremendous feedback on the rig with the V10 400R,” said Rick Pierce, president of Bass Cat and Yar-Craft Boats. “The new engine bridges a gap between the 300R and 450R. Many commented on the advantages of fueling up with easy-to-find 87 octane pump gas, and they like that the motors make all that power without a supercharger.”