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Bassmaster Classic 2018 Schedule: Dates, TV Coverage, Live Stream and Event Info

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2018

Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., holds up a bass for spectators following him on the second day of the Bassmaster Classic, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Guntersville, Ala. Tharp was bumped from first to second by 1 ounce by Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla. The field will be cut to the top 25 anglers for the final day of competition. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
Hal Yeager/Associated Press

Lake Hartwell in Greenville, South Carolina, will host the 2018 edition of the Bassmaster Classic, beginning on Friday. Among those slated to compete are South Carolina native Casey Ashley, a winner in 2015.

Ashley will be joined by defending champion Jordan Lee and 2016's winner Edwin Evers. Four-time champion Kevin VanDam will also be involved.

               

Friday March 16

Time: 8 a.m.-11 a.m. ET; 12 p.m.-3 p.m. ET; weigh-ins 3:50 p.m. ET

TV Info: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

               

Saturday, March 17

Time: 8 a.m.-11 a.m. ET; 12 p.m.-3 p.m. ET; weigh-ins 3:50 p.m. ET

TV Info: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

                  

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Sunday, March 18

Time: 8 a.m.-11 a.m. ET; 12 p.m.-3 p.m. ET; weigh-ins 3:50 p.m. ET

TV Info: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

         

The full list of all 52 competitors is available on the tournament's official website.

         

The event is arguably the biggest in fishing, offering $300,000 to the winner in 2017. Taking the lion's share of the purse won't be easy, though—not from an event posing several challenges to its competitors.

Among them, dealing with rising water levels is an obvious issue. Jacob "The Paperboy" Foutz and Jacob Powroznik, both among this year's field, recently discussed the issue with Alan McGuckin of the Bassmaster website.

Foutz noted how rising water levels have forced fish to spread out, making catching consistently more difficult. He also pointed out how bites can be random, saying: "I've had bites in six inches of water, and I've had bites in 30 feet of water, but I've not seen a real defined pattern yet."

Anglers face a host of challenges.
Anglers face a host of challenges.HAL YEAGER/Associated Press

Both Foutz and Powroznik agreed the competition is wide open, saying anglers will likely require hauls weighing an average of 13 pounds per day to ensure a top-10 finish.

It may be difficult to pick a winner, but Ashley's experience on Lake Hartwell has to be an advantage. He had the edge three years ago and is well-versed in the demands of the Classic as he gets set for his ninth appearance.

However, not everybody is convinced Ashley's skills will be relevant this time. Among them, Bassmaster TV analyst Mark Zona told Mike Suchan rising temperatures will be a disadvantage for "cold, deep-water anglers" like Ashley.

Instead, Zona believes Greg Hackney and Jason Christie, both more comfortable in shallow waters, are strong contenders, as well as VanDam.

VanDam is among those touted to win.
VanDam is among those touted to win.Mike Silva/Associated Press

As champion, Lee will also be one to watch after his final-day haul of five catches a year ago.

With this many skilled anglers having compelling cases to win, this year's Classic has the potential to be the best yet.

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