Tennessee anglers captured the top two places and posted two additional spots among the top seven in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic. The impressive performances capped off the three-day event in Knoxville.
Harrison resident Jacob Wheeler came in second place in his third B.A.S.S. tournament. He had a three-day total of 45-5. Brandon Lester claimed sixth place.
In seventh position was Spring City’s Wesley Strader with 39-8 to give all the Volunteer State’s anglers competing top 10 finishes.
Ott DeFoe put the finishing touches on a storybook performance in his hometown. The Knoxville angler was the overall champion with a total of 49 pounds, 3 ounces. He earned the title after a sixth place finish a year ago.
Brandon Lester claimed sixth place. The Fayetteville native had a three-day total of 40-3.
The Classic showcased Tennessee as one of the nation’s top fishing destinations. A record attendance of more than 153,800 were in attendance at the tournament venues, including the daily afternoon weigh-ins at Thompson Boling Arena, the Classic Outdoors Expo at the Knoxville Convention Center and World’s Fair Exhibition Hall, and the morning takeoffs at Volunteers Landing. The Saturday takeoff drew 6,500 while Friday’s was 5,500, both new records.
Fishing is big business in Tennessee. With 1.8 million anglers and an economic impact of more than $1.1 billion in Tennessee, fishing drives tourism throughout the state and supports close to 10,000 jobs. The Classic alone had an economic impact of more than $25 million in and around Knoxville