The AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open on October 9-10 is the first major Association of Collegiate Anglers’ event of the 2021-2022 season. A new school year is now underway, and hundreds of the nation’s top collegiate anglers are eager to begin a new season on the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series. Set to take place at Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, AR, the AFTCO Open will award over $20,000 in prizes & contingencies, as well as double points towards the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.
“The AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open is just a great way to kick off a new season for the Association of Collegiate Anglers,” said Kyle Curry, ACA Managing Director. “Anglers will be competing for their share of a very lucrative prize payout, as well as extremely valuable points for the School of the Year race. Though it is extremely early in the season, the AFTCO Open could very well prove to be one of the most important events of the season for many teams.”
The AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open will be the first ACA double points event of the 2021-22 campaign. Double points mean that schools can earn points for each of their highest two finishing teams inside of the Top 125 in the final overall tournament standings. First place at Lake Dardanelle will earn 1,250 points. Point increments then decrease by 10, all the way down to 125th being the last place to receive points. Teams must weigh in a fish to earn points.
“With such a large amount of points on the line, the AFTCO Open is a key event in the chase for 2021-22 Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia,” said Curry. “To be frank, it could make or break a school’s season. We’ve seen it play out in years past, and I expect this year to be no different.”
There are two teams that competed in the 2020 AFTCO Open who embody the highs and lows of how results in a double points event can impact the trajectory of an entire season. Greenville University entered the 2020 AFTCO Open with some of the strongest momentum towards the School of the Year race in school history. Earlier in the 2020-21 season, Greenville achieved the school’s highest ranking ever. Just two months into the new season, Greenville was ranked 3rd overall in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year near the middle of September.
Prior to the start of the 2020 AFTCO Open, Greenville was ranked the 8th best team in the nation. Greenville sent just one team to Lake Dardanelle, and the pairing of Cordell Beckmann and Evan Seggerman finished 65th in the final tournament standings. That Top 75 finish earned Greenville just 360 points out of a possible maximum potential of over 1,900 points. Upon leaving Lake Dardanelle and Russellville, AR, Greenville had slipped down to 12th in the nation.
The AFTCO Open was the start of Greenville’s descent down the standings that ended with a final ranking of 31st overall.
Conversely, we now take a look at how last year’s AFTCO Open shaped Drury University’s 2020-21 season. Drury entered the 2020 AFTCO Open ranked 20th overall with just less than 2,000 points. Team members Cole Breeden and Cameron Smith proceeded to win the AFTCO Open, and fellow teammates Beau Browning and Brock Bila finished 5th overall. The two Top 5 finishes earned Drury a total of 1,960 points, the most of any team to compete in the event.
The two Top 5 finishes at the AFTCO Open helped Drury to rocket up the standings. Drury moved up nine places following the ACA major event at Lake Dardanelle into the 11th spot overall with 4,625 points. Not only did the two Top 5 finishes secure Drury a treasure trove of points, it also earned the school two additional qualification spots in the 2021 Championship at Lake Murray. Drury rode the momentum generated at the 2020 AFTCO Open to a school-best 8th place finish in the final rankings for the 2020-21 season.
With the 2021-22 Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia still in the very early stages, the 2021 AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open presents teams with an opportunity to make a statement. Register now to secure your spot in one of the most important events of the entire season!