UNION SPRINGS — The Bassmaster Elite Series is returning to Cayuga Lake next summer.
The village of Union Springs Mayor Bud Shattuck announced in an interview on Wednesday that the fishing event is coming back to the village for the 2019 competition.
"We were hoping they'd come back," Shattuck said, adding that Bassmaster was inquiring what dates might work for the village. "Whatever date you want, we'll accommodate you," was Shattuck's reply.
The competition is the highest tournament level for professional bass fishing, according to the Bassmaster website, and competitors must qualify for the series through Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens or the B.A.S.S. Nation.
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"This is like NASCAR, this is the highest level of bass in the world," Shattuck said.
Next summer, the competition is slated to take place on Cayuga Lake from Aug. 22 to 25.
"I think they like coming when it's harder, but the fish are bigger," Shattuck said of Bassmaster, explaining that they'd talked about doing the competition in June but most of the catches are "fat bass that are full of eggs."
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Although competitions are held throughout the U.S., Shattuck said "the biggest bass cumulative that they get, they set records, is right here (on Cayuga Lake)."
Shattuck said on the first day of the competition, more than 100 competitors gather around 6 a.m. for the national anthem before getting out on the lake.
"At the end of the first two days, the top 25 (competitors) stay — there's 112 or so," Shattuck said, "they each get $10,000. Then the next day they cut it down to 12."
In the 2014 competition Shattuck said "the grand champion of all time," Greg Hackney, won $100,000 on Cayuga Lake.
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In preparation for the competition, Shattuck said that the village's new boat launch at Frontenac Park will be completed well beforehand.
As people come from all over the country, and the world, for the event, Shattuck said there are a lot of logistics to manage. On top of parking and transportation, there are also food trucks and vendors to coordinate.
"We have music, we have fireworks twice off the island," Shattuck said. "It is a big deal."