TowBoatUS Battle of Chickamauga Classic set for April 28

The most exciting high school bass fishing tournament in the nation returns to Dayton, Tennessee, as the TowBoatUS Battle of Chickamauga High School Classic presented by CATCH Ministry is set for Saturday, April 28.  Click here to register online.

Yes.  It’s the tournament that has an actual cannon firing during blast-off, a championship belt, and weighing in on a full concert stage equipped with “hot seat”, music, and LED lighting.

This is all part of the atmosphere organizers Fish Dayton and CATCH Ministry have created in order to give high school anglers a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the most exciting high school event in the nation.

Springville (AL) Anglers Logan Henderson and Steven Swann – 2017 Battle of Chickamauga Champions

With a field of 347 boats and 1,033 total participants, last year’s event was easily the largest field in B.A.S.S. tournament history.  Logan Henderson and Steven Swann from the Springville (Ala.) Anglers won the event with a 24-pound, 1-ounce limit of bass that now ranks as one of the largest ever caught in a B.A.S.S. high school open event.

Payouts greater than 100% of registration fees will be paid thanks to the many sponsors: including title sponsor TowBoatUS, Bass Pro Shops, Real Deal Tackle, Bunch Marine, Shimano, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Frogg Toggs, and Solar Bat to name a few.

According to Fish Dayton Director Dennis Tumlin, it’s not the just bright lights that draws the best high school anglers from around the country – it’s the chance to catch monster bass in Lake Chickamauga.

“The event atmosphere is one-of-a-kind but so is the fishing.  Where else do you have a chance to catch a 10-pound bass on every cast,” states Tumlin.

Tumlin isn’t exagerating.  In last year’s event, a 10 pound 11 ounce largemouth was brought in by Chase Carter and Adam Sansom of the North West Georgia Anglers for the largest bass ever weighed in a Bassmaster High School open event.

2015 Battle of Chick winners, Soddy Daisy High School’s Elijah Cartwright and Jacob Thomas with 32.59 lbs – (5 Fish) (photo: Gary Bolden)

In 2015, Soddy Daisy High School’s Elijah Cartwright and Jacob Thomas dropped a five fish limit worth 32.59 pounds on the scales to win the inaugural title.

“It was the largest Bassmaster high school state event when it started, and it’s grown each year,” states David Lowrie who serves as Bassmaster’s Tennessee High School Director.

“As a state director and high school coach, I know how exciting it is for team to carry the belt for a year.”

2016 Champs – Grundy County’s Kyle Ingleburger, Coach David Lowrie, and Kyle Palmer (ElmerHarris)

Lowrie knows this first hand as his team of Kyle Ingleburger and Kyle Palmer won the 2016 event with 29.57 pounds to take the championship belt back to Grundy County High School.

But it’s not the belt or the bass that brings scores of volunteers from CATCH Ministry to support and help organize the event.

“For us, it’s about sharing the gospel for us.  We’re just excited to be able to have an impact and make a difference in these young lives,” says CATCH Ministry’s Kevin Johnson

“These kids are worth the effort and that’s why we do what we do,” adds Keith Gombash of CATCH Ministry who as the event’s stage announcer, knows how to bring out the Elite Series Pro in all competitors – even the shy ones.

In addition to the high school event, there will also be junior event for younger anglers that runs concurrent with the high school event.  Juniors will weigh-in on the same stage one hour earlier.


Dayton is also the perfect place for families coming to support their favorite high school angler.  Since the first Battle of Chickamauga Classic in 2015, there has been over 13 million dollars in private capital invested in lodging and dining alone.

As event sponsors Dayton’s new Sleep Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express love high school fishing and the families that support them.

“We are always excited to have high school anglers and their families stay with us,” states Van Meter Hotels COO Nathaniel Eastwood.  “These events have a positive impact on our community.”

Registrants will also receive an $8 voucher to use at the following restaurants: Monkey Town Brewing Company, Amigo’s Mexican Restaurant, Carrabelle’s, Screen Door Café, and Ayala’s Mexican Restaurant.

There will be a mandatory Safety and Rules meeting at the Dayton Boat Dock & Grill on Friday, April 27 at 7pm .

Register or learn more about the TowBoatUS Battle of Chickamauga here. Learn more on their Facebook page or by contacting Dennis Tumlin with the Rhea County Economic and Tourism Council at 423-775-6171 or

Fish Dayton welcomes Costa FLW Series this Week on Lake Chickamauga


DAYTON, Tenn. – As many as 450 pros and co-anglers are set to compete May 4-6 in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finale on Lake Chickamauga. The tournament, presented by Lowrance, is the final regular-season event of 2017 scheduled in the Southeastern Division. Pros will be competing for a top award of up to $50,000 in cash and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.

“There’s going to be a lot of bass and a lot of big limits caught in this event,” said FLW Tour pro Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tennessee, who won the FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga in 2015. “There should be a lot of fish heading offshore right now because the spawn is just about over. I would say it’s going to be a postspawn deal, but there could be a twist. This week we’ve had a lot of rain and we are supposed to get more.”

Wooley said that following a lot of rain, the river runs high and bass seek protection in creeks from the strong current. With that in mind, competitors who originally planned to fish solely offshore may need to make adjustments.

“It’s only a forecast though, so nothing is guaranteed,” said Wooley. “If we do get the rain docks will be a big player, as well as grass up the river. In grassy areas, I’d use a ChatterBait or any kind of soft-plastics. On the docks, I’d flip a jig or maybe even throw a wacky-rigged worm.”

Wooley said that areas near Chester Frost Park will be a good bet for anglers who choose to target offshore bass.

“Chester Frost Park is a really prime area for catching offshore bass,” said Wooley. “I won the Tour event near there and the dam in 2015. If I were competing, I’d throw a big swimbait – they’ll eat it up – or a (Strike King) 6XD or 10XD crankbait.”

The Tennessee pro said a three-day cumulative weight of 70 pounds should be enough to take home top honors.

Anglers will take off from the Dayton Boat Dock, located at 175 Lakeshore St. in Dayton at 6:30 a.m. EDT each day. Weigh-ins will be held at the marina beginning at 2:30 p.m. each day. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. The event is hosted by the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council.

In Costa FLW Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event. At Lake Chickamauga, pros will fish for as much as $50,000 and a Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard if Ranger Cup qualified. Co-anglers will cast for a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard and an additional $1,250 if Ranger Cup qualified.

The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2017 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 2-4 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.

For complete details and updated information visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Costa FLW Series on Facebook at and on Twitter at

About FLW

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit and follow FLW at FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Snapchat.

Largest Field in History of B.A.S.S. headed for Dayton

Dayton, TN —  After hosting the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Souuthern Open last week, Dayton brings in an even bigger field on the 36,240-acre Tennessee River.  Last week local Pro Angler Michael Neal brought home a second place finish in a field of over 200.  Dayton community are hoping the local Rhea County High School Team can repeat that success this weekend, April 29-30, in a field twice that size.

The Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods is scheduled for Saturday, with takeoff at 6:40 a.m. ET from Blue Water Resort and weight in scheduled for 2:40 pm at Dayton Boat Dock.  The field for this B.A.S.S. event will be the largest in the 50-year tournament history of B.A.S.S with a field of 416 boats.

Tournament format is  two anglers and a team captain or coach in each boat.  That would put the number of participants in the water at more than 1,200.  this will break the previous record by over 80 boats.  Last April 332 boats set the record in a High School Open, in tournament held on Lake Guntersville, in Alabama.

Saturday’s event is one of four High School Opens that qualify student anglers for the Costa Bassmaster High School Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.  In addition to top anglers in the Opens, the highest-finishing competitors in state championships and sanctioned high school team trails also are invited to the High School Championship.

Rhea County High School will bring a very large group competing with 15 boats slated to blast off on Saturday for the tournament.