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Big Bass Bash Bringing 3,000 Anglers To Lake Of The Ozarks, Hoping For A $100,000 Fish

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Big Bass Large mouth - Fishing

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — The Big Bass Bash Fishing Tournament will fill hotels & resorts up and down the Lake’s 90 miles this weekend, as thousands of anglers cast their lucky lures in hopes of landing a $100,000 fish.

The twice-a-year amateur-only tournament, held in April and October, is irresistible to anglers, offering over $250,000 in total payouts, with the money all hinging on catching a single big fish. The Spring Big Bass Bash was cancelled due to Covid concerns, so the Fall Bash comes with plenty of pent-up anticipation. Organizer Charlie Terrell says the event typically draws about 3,000 anglers, from about 35 states. The majority of them are not primarily Lake of the Ozarks people, he told LakeExpo.

“A lot of these out-of-towners love the Lake,” Terrell said. “They come back for this tournament twice a year. And they come back throughout the year to just enjoy the Lake.”

The Bash is not the only event happening at Lake of the Ozarks this weekend; the Offshore At The Ozarks boat race is also bringing powerboaters for high-speed action between the 5–9 Mile Markers. Originally the schedules for both events had some overlap, but the boat race was moved to later in the day Saturday, allowing anglers to go through the race course on-plane, before racing begins. The boat race is set to start at 3:15 or 3:30 on Saturday, and weigh-ins end at 3 p.m.

Terrell has been running the Big Bass Bash at the Lake for 15 years, and before that he came here to fish. Lake of the Ozarks has been a draw to fishermen since its earliest days in the 1930s, but Terrell says he thinks the fishing scene here is just getting better.

Candidly, Terrell says he feels fishing gets a bit overshadowed by other major Lake events, and unjustifiably so. “This tournament that we do, it fills just about every hotel room around the Lake,” he said. “They stay from the 1 Mile Marker up to the 90 Mile Marker.” Terrell pointed out the same can not be said of pretty much any other event. Some of the Lake’s bigger events are more pinpointed, but “these guys scatter for 90 miles.” That uniquely benefits the economy, especially in the upstream areas of the Lake, he said.

This year’s Fall Bash comes after a painful year for Charlie Terrell, his family, and Bass Bash organizers. Cancelling the Spring event was tough, but the real blow came in July, when Charlie’s sister Marie Terrell-Steinkuehler was killed in a boating accident on Lake of the Ozarks. The driver of the other boat was charged with Boating While Intoxicated and multiple felonies. Marie’s husband Brad and their 13-year-old daughter were both seriously injured, in a coma for 12 days with severe brain injuries. They are recovering, but some of the brain damage may be long-lasting, Terrell said.

When the busyness of the fall tournament is past, he plans to push for stricter BWI penalties and more messaging, advocacy, and awareness to encourage boaters to always drive sober. “We’ve got a lot of backing here with the fishing community,” he said.

With the Bash this weekend, Terrell says he feels his sister’s absence even more acutely. “She was on the front line of this tournament,” he said. “It’s gonna be a tough weekend without her.”

Friends, family, and communities have rallied around the Terrell and Steinkuehler family, with an event last week to support the family and a GoFundMe Page having raised over $100,000. Click here to donate:

Planning on competing in the Big Bass Bash? 

Click here for the rules:

Previous tournament winners

-Fall Bash 2019 - Kevin Jones, 6.42 lbs

-Spring Bash 2019 - Thomas Smith, 7.93 lbs

-Fall Bash 2018 - Oliver Ngy, 6.82 lbs [video of Oliver landing his fish, below]

Schedule and weigh-in locations


In-Person Registration - 12–8 p.m. - Public Beach #2 (Lake of the Ozarks State Park) - Numerous vendors on-hand selling tackle & gear


Register at weigh-in locations - beginning at 6 a.m.

Weigh-in locations - Public Beach #2, Red Oak Resort, Alhonna Resort, Point Randall Resort, Ivy Bend Resort

Click here to register online: 

Tournament runs from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day

Weigh-in time slots are 7–9 a.m., 9–11 a.m., 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. each day

Weekend Winnings

The four biggest bass of the weekend will earn the anglers who caught them:

1st Place - $100,000

2nd Place - $20,000

3rd Place - $10,000

4th Place - $5,000

The top 35 fish from each weigh-in time slot also earn winnings, with the largest fish in each time slot winning $1,500 and the 35th-largest winning $180. Other bonuses include exact-weight bonuses ($500 for each fish weighing exactly 3.00 or 4.00 lbs), AFTCO t-shirt bonuses for the 36th-place person in each time slot, and a ladies bonus ($1,000 for the biggest fish caught by a lady).

Updates & Results

Hourly updates will be provided on MIX 92.7 FM radio

The live leaderboard can be viewed here: 


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