Lake Fork plays host to big time bass event


One of the nation’s largest and most elite bass tournaments is coming to Lake Fork for a four-day run filled with fishing, entertainment, vendors, fun activities and more.

The third annual Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest is set for May 2-6 on Lake Fork at the Sabine River Authority (SRA) Complex. The event will benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Wood County Industrial Commission is the lead host in conjunction with Lake Fork Chamber of Commerce, Sabine River Authority, Quitman Development Corp. and Emory Tourism.

Highly skilled anglers from across the country will contend for the Century Belt, which is awarded to anglers who catch more than 100 pounds of bass during a four-day Elite Series event.

This is a first for Lake Fork to host a fishing event of this magnitude.

“To sit and think about the possibilities is really exciting,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “We’ve never had a major B.A.S.S. event on Lake Fork. Now, we’ll be visiting in the spring — at the perfect time for giant bass to be caught.”

All anglers begin fishing from May 2 to 3. Daily takeoffs start at 7 a.m. at the SRA complex and weigh-ins at 3 p.m. each day.

There will be a break on May 4 for fan appreciation and celebration events.

Events set for Saturday are Bassmaster University seminars, the Bassmaster Outdoors Expo, the annual Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team Tournament and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Adventure experience. The high school fishing tournament will be held at Lake Quitman.

“The Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce and our partners the Wood County Industrial Commission, Emory Tourism and Quitman EDC are excited to be hosting such an elite tournament such as the Bassmaster Elite Series,” said Michael Rogge, president of the Lake Fork Area COC. “This event will show that major tournament organizations, such as Bassmaster, can hold events on a lake with restrictive size limits. Catch-and-release tournaments are becoming more popular, and this tournament will show the world that it can be done and exciting at the same time.”

Lake Fork Chamber will also host a five-mile fun run titled “Run Your Dam Bass Off” on Saturday on the Lake Fork dam at 7:30 a.m. The fun run is sponsored by WCIC, Sabine River Authority, Quitman Development Corp., Emory Tourism, Colonial Construction and iTRI365 Timing & Event Production. For more information on the run, contact To register, go to

Country music star Chris Knight will perform live for 90 minutes as part of the Mercury Concert Series at 4:15 p.m. Saturday. Knight is an accomplished singer and songwriter. His album, “Little Victories,” went to No. 25 on the Billboard Country charts.

Alan Haynes of Tyler, former CEO and president of the Sportster Inc. retail sporting goods chain and lifelong sportsman, will be inducted into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Top 35 Elite Series professional anglers will continue the competition on May 5, while the Top 10 will compete in the championship round on May 6.

The tournament will feature a total payout of $1 million. The champion angler earns $100,000. A Toyota Tundra pickup truck goes to the angler with the heaviest bass.

Five years ago, Lake Fork hosted the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, which was a three-day event recording the weight of 15 fish and served as a predecessor to Texas Fest. This time, anglers will record the weight of their 20 heaviest fish during the four-day period. Fish will be weighed and then released back to the lake, according to Bassmaster.

“We’re excited to head back to Lake Fork and be the official sponsor of the 2019 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest,” Brent Hillyer, Gulf States Toyota’s senior vice president of marketing and vehicle supply, said. “There’s no better way to continue to benefit Texas Parks and Wildlife Department than by holding this competition at one of Texas’ most admired reservoirs.”

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