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Lake County poised to reel in more bass fishing tournaments

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This chart, provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, shows the number of anglers and fishing tournament days on Lake Harris is recent years.

Lake County is looking to continue its long lucrative history of bass tournaments next year.

County commissioners will decide Tuesday whether to commit $325,000 dollars in tourism development funds to that effort.

Visit Lake interim director Steven Clenney says bass fishing is a historical foundation of tourism in Lake County.

“It’s a fun fact the Harris Chain of Lakes hosted the first ever professional bass fishing tournament based out of Leesburg in 1928,” he said.

And improvements in water quality have rejuvenated the industry.

In recent months, as the pandemic forced cancellations elsewhere, Lake County has benefited from sporting events like bass tournaments.

Now it hopes to reel in five contracts for next year, including Bassmaster, Major League Fishing and amateur Big Bass Tour events.

The bass tournaments would have an estimated economic impact of $5 million.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.