Ultimate Guide to the 2023 Smallmouth King Bass Tournament

Once again, the time has come for the beloved Sevierville Smallmouth King Bass Tournament. Now in its fourth year running, this exciting competition encourages anglers to put their fishing skills to the test. Only the top three anglers will win a prize for their efforts, but each year, everyone walks away feeling accomplished and with fun memories to last a lifetime. Ready to get geared up and registered for the tournament?

Here’s what you need to know:

Get Ready for Two Days of Catch-and-Release Fun

For 2023, the Smallmouth King Bass Tournament starts on June 3rd and continues through the 4th. Across those two days, anglers will cast out their line in hopes of reeling in catch after catch. In the end, the top three fishermen will earn endless bragging rights upon getting crowned the Smallmouth King of the Smokies.

How the Competition Works

As always, the tournament is a strictly catch-and-release event to best protect the local ecosystem. You must use a single handheld rod and reel fitted with an artificial lure. No live bait allowed.

When a smallmouth bass lands on your line, you’ll need to reel it in and scoop it out of the water by hand. Nets are not allowed either due to the risk of causing harm to the fish. Only fish over 12 inches in length count toward your total, so you’ll need to put them on the provided Hawg Tough Measuring Board to make sure.

With your fish on the board, snap a photo with the entire fish and your unique identifier in the frame. Then, send it over to the judges on the TourneyX-AP. For your catch to count, you must remove the hook from the fish, keep the dorsal fish facing upward, and center the tail.

After you snap the photo, set that fish free and get back to fishing to catch the most smallmouth bass in the given amount of time. You can cast out until 5 pm the first day and 2 pm the second, so be sure to make the most of your time out on the water.

Daily Tournament Schedule

On Saturday, June 3rd, you’ll need to arrive bright and early to check in by 5 am. At 5:30 am, the mandatory tournament meeting will begin at the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce. During that meeting, you’ll learn about all of the rules for the competition, how to maximize your chance of winning, and what prizes are up for grabs.

The meeting ends at 6:30 am, giving you enough time to land at your favorite fishing hole and get your line into the water by the 7 am start time. Your last line can go out at 5 pm that day. The tournament will resume at 6 am the next day, making it a good idea to get plenty of rest in the meantime.

On Sunday, June 4th, the fishing resumes in the morning and continues until 2 pm. You’ll have until 3 pm to return to the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce for the Awards Ceremony. At the ceremony, they’ll announce the prize winners and share the data from the competition.

Prizes up for grabs for the 2023 Smallmouth King Bass Tournament are:

  • 1st: $1,000
  • 2nd: $400
  • 3rd: $200

On top of that, the angler who reels in the biggest fish will win $100. All anglers get to keep their official Hawg Trough measuring device as a memento of this special occasion.

Best Places to Fish for Smallmouth Bass in Sevierville, Tennessee

Throughout the tournament, you’re welcome to fish anywhere along the French Broad River or Little Pigeon River. Just make sure that you’re somewhere that has public access to avoid trespassing on private land.

The most popular places to fish for smallmouth bass in Sevierville include:

  • Hardin Lane Park: 112 Hardin Lane
  • Sevierville City Park: 1005 Park Road
  • Greenway Trail: 339 Forks of the River Parkway
  • Doug Bishop Memorial Bridge: 901 Winfield Dunn Parkway
  • Duvall in the Smokies Campground: 1518 Dolly Parton Parkway
  • Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort: 455 Lonesome Valley Road
  • Walters State Community College: 1720 Old Newport Highway

The tournament organizers will provide a map with all the best fishing areas along the two local rivers. Pay close attention to waterfalls and other hazards marked on the map to avoid getting caught in a sticky situation.

Once you find your ideal spot to fish, it’s up to you how you go about it. You can fish from the riverbank, wade right in, or use a paddleboat. If you decide to fish from your boat, remember that you’re not allowed to use any gas or electric motors.

Kayaks and canoes are popular watercraft options for this tournament due to their lightweight construction and ease of maneuvering them down the river. You must confirm that your watercraft meets the state’s boating requirements to avoid getting disqualified.

Smallmouth King Bass Tournament Registration Open Now

Registration for the Smallmouth King Bass Tournament is open now. If you sign up by noon on June 2nd, the entry fee is just $50. After that, it goes up to $75 until registration closes at 5:30 am on the 3rd. If you don’t sign up by then, you’re out of luck and will have to try again next year.

In addition to registering for the tournament, you’ll need a valid Tennessee State fishing license. You just have to use the online system to sign up for a new license or renew your current one if it’s due to expire in 10 days or less. You will also need to get your non-motorized vessel operating permit if you’re planning on fishing from a canoe, kayak, or paddleboat.

Once you have all the registration, licensing, and permits out of the way, you just have to focus on getting your gear in order. Remember to check the rules to ensure you’re using the right equipment and 100% ready to go head-to-head with your fellow anglers.