Ultimate Bass

Women’s Bassmaster Tour Rolls into Tennessee for Third Event of Season

Cindy Hill
Cindy Hill of Smyrna, Tenn.

Old Hickory Lake will be a new test for the anglers as the Women’s Bassmaster Tour (WBT) presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors makes its June 19-21 stop in Tennessee’s Sumner County, just east of the Nashville metro area.

Cindy Hill of Smyrna, Tenn.
Cindy Hill of Smyrna, Tenn. – Legend Boats Pro

Old Hickory Lake will be a new test for the anglers as the Women’s Bassmaster Tour (WBT) presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors makes its June 19-21 stop in Tennessee’s Sumner County, just east of the Nashville metro area.

WBT pros will vie for a $51,000 top prize and points that count toward an historic berth in the Bassmaster Classic – the first for a woman angler. The pro with the most points at the end of the 2008 season will be crowned the Toyota WBT Angler of the Year (AOY) and will qualify for the 2009 Classic, Feb. 20-22 on the Red River out of Shreveport/Bossier City, La. The AOY also will win a fully loaded Toyota Tundra.

To watch the Old Hickory competition unfold, fishing fans can click in daily to http://www.Bassmaster.com. The site will present streaming video and real-time leaderboards during the Thursday-Saturday weigh-ins as well as daily postings of photo galleries, stories and standings.

While Old Hickory Lake and Sumner County will be a first-time venue for BASS’ three-year-old women’s tour, the Cumberland River impoundment has been the site of four other BASS pro-level tournaments. One was a Bassmaster Top 100 event in October 1996, won by Missouri’s Chad Brauer – son of Bassmaster Elite Series pro Denny Brauer – with a three-day total of almost 50 pounds.

In June, Old Hickory can produce a winning weight that’s just as good – or better, according to Tennessee pros Emily Shaffer of Mount Juliet and Cindy Hill of Smyrna.

“Eighteen pounds won a five-hour tournament there last Sunday morning,” said Hill, who has six top-10 finishes on her WBT record and is in second place in this season’s points race, just 19 points behind leader Kim Bain of Alabaster, Ala. “I think 15 to 18 pounds a day at our tournament will get you into the (top-20) cut and a check.”

Shaffer, who is 14th in the points race, estimates the winning weight will go 35 to 40 pounds.

Both Shaffer and Hill fish Old Hickory frequently, so the June event gives them a strong bid to capture their first BASS win. But they know the lake well enough to peg it as a fishery that tends to even the playing field.

“Any technique somebody has a lot of confidence in, they’ll be able to bring to Old Hickory and capitalize on it,” Shaffer said. “The beauty of Old Hickory is it will accommodate just about any style of fishing you like to do.”

Water temperatures in the shallows are at about 80 degrees, and the deeper sections of the spring-fed lake are about 60 degrees, Shaffer said, but as many bass are in the shallows as are in the cooler, deeper sections. Hill agrees.

“The quality fish could be anywhere, from the shallow grass all the way out to the drops,” Hill said.

The impoundment is almost 100 miles long and spans about 20,000 acres. Anglers will be allowed to lock down into the Cumberland River, expanding the tournament waters outside the lake’s boundaries. But commercial-barge traffic often ties up the busy lock, according to Hill, and she predicts most pros won’t gamble their fishing time on a lock-through.

“Anyway, I think the better fish are going to come off Old Hickory,” Hill said.

Both pros said they will target largemouth bass to fill their five-fish daily limits, although smallmouth and spotted bass also are fair game.

“I’ll start shallow with topwater baits and frogs and go from there to creek channels and other deeper water,” Hill said.

Shaffer said she’ll hit emergent grass and boat docks, then break out a Carolina rig for deep-water spots.

The public is invited to watch the daily action at two venues. One is Sanders Ferry Park, 100 Sanders Ferry Road in Hendersonville, where the pros will launch Thursday-Saturday at 5:30 a.m. CT. The park will also be the site of the Thursday and Friday weigh-ins at 2:15 p.m. CT.

The action shifts to Madison, Tenn., on Saturday, June 21, for the finale. The Madison location of Academy Sports & Outdoors will host the weigh-in at 2:30 p.m. CT, when a pro winner and a co-angler winner will emerge from the 20 anglers in each division who made the Friday cut.

The Academy store, located at 2350 Gallatin Pike N., also will host Meet and Greet for fans to chat with the pros and get their autographs from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 18.

All WBT events are free and open to the public.

Sponsors of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour include Academy Sports & Outdoors, Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Lowrance, Mercury, Skeeter, Yamaha, OPTIMA Batteries, Triton Boats, Legend Boats, MoGills and Mustang.

Local hosts include the Sumner County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Gallatin, Tenn., http://www.sumnercountytourism.com; 615-230-8474 or 866-336-7866

About BASS

For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive web properties in Bassmaster.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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