SAN ANTONIO, TX (June 25, 2025) – In 2005, the Association of Collegiate Anglers and the Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship was formed out of a need and desire to provide college student anglers with a platform to compete and grow.  The organization was led by key individuals, fueled by overwhelming sponsor support, and quickly began to grow a dedicated angler base across college campuses nationwide.

“At that time, we knew this was an important, untapped segment for the sport of bass fishing.  We also knew that the fishing industry as a whole needed to help create opportunities for anglers in this age class and younger.   Many of these anglers had been fishing since they were young children, but others had only started to fish recently, and as they grew older…they needed a place to compete and meet like-minded individuals,” said Wade Middleton, ACA Director and President of CarecoTV.  “That first event was met with a lot of anticipation, as well as quite a few unknowns.  But, the college anglers showed up in full support…and from that moment we’ve embarked on an incredible journey that has led us to here, where we’re thrilled to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ACA.”

The ACA’s first-ever event, the Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship, was contested as the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Lake Lewisville.  That event is now college fishing’s longest-running National Championship tournament.  This inaugural event saw dozens of teams from across the nation travel to Lake Lewisville in north Texas to compete for what would grow into one of college fishing’s most prestigious titles.  ACA team members and industry leaders poured their full support behind this event, helping to launch a platform for these college students to grow as anglers and individuals, both on-the-water and off.

From day one, the ACA has strived to bring expansive media coverage to share the achievements of the competitors on the trail, as well as provide exposure and brand awareness to the companies and products that partnered with the organization.  Our goal since that first event was to provide major events without an entry fee or membership, while also providing programs to help more anglers get on the water and pursue their passions.  Every partner we have has developed some sort of a program to help grow college fishing and it’s become something we’re proud of.

Since the very first event, and continuing still today, the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series is the only dedicated nationally televised college bass fishing tournament trail. The series has been seen on a variety of networks and platforms, and as digital media has evolved over the past 20 years, the ACA has worked diligently to target these anglers across a variety of platforms and mediums.  Today, across social media, television, and other properties, the ACA reach extends to millions of viewers and users worldwide to promote college fishing.

Following that first National Championship in Texas, the ACA established the Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, a dedicated tournament series featuring major no-entry-fee events over the course of 12 months.   These events are now the backbone of college bass fishing and provide a platform to help these anglers grow both on-the-water, as well as into the business world.

In 2011, the ACA developed an all-encompassing National Rankings system for college bass fishing.  The Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia is a year-long race in which school bass fishing clubs and teams earn valuable points throughout the season.  Thousands of anglers, representing hundreds of colleges and universities, compete to see how high up in the standings their school can finish at the end of the year.  The ACA’s School of the Year standings is the only program of its kind to rank and reward college bass fishing clubs and teams for their success across all college bass fishing events nationwide.

“As a junior at the University of Arkansas, we finished in the Top 3 for the National Rankings in its very first year,” said Kyle Curry, ACA Managing Director.  “Now in my 8th year working for the ACA and CarecoTV, I am privileged to be a part of this monumental 20th season. It is amazing to see what college fishing has grown into.  The programs and opportunities offered to these anglers through the ACA are extremely valuable, and the quality of the angler competing at this level is reflective of that support…as well as the dedication of the anglers and teams.”

Today, the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series consists of three major regular-season events and a year-end National Championship tournament.  Throughout the 2023-24 season, the ACA saw record numbers of participation at events, anglers requesting discount codes at a high rate, as well as strong engagement across social media platforms.  Attendance at regular season events neared 600 total anglers at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley, and a record-breaking field of close to 250 boats at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open on Lake Dardanelle.

Here is a look at the 2024-25 schedule on the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series:

Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley

September 21-22, 2024 – Kentucky Lake – Henry County and Paris, TN

AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open

October 12-13, 2024 – Lake Dardanelle Russellville, AR

Pickwick Slam

April 5-6, 2025 – Pickwick Lake Florence, AL

Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops

May 22-23, 2025 – Lake Hartwell – Anderson, SC

 Throughout the 2024-25 season, the ACA is excited to celebrate its 20th anniversary.  This is a major milestone for the organization, student anglers, and series partners.  Over the next 12 months, the ACA will be introducing new programs, promotions and features across digital media, as well as look backs at some of the great moments that have occurred over the years.

To the anglers, host sites, companies, and everyone that has helped to contribute to the growth of college fishing the past 20 years, the ACA would like to say, “thank you,” and we look forward to celebrating this accomplishment in the coming months…because without every one of you, this milestone wouldn’t have been possible and many of today’s anglers who now work in the industry, fish competitively or fish recreationally would never have had the chance to do so.

The post 2024-25 to Mark 20th Season for the Association of Collegiate Anglers appeared first on Collegiate Bass Championship.

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