Over the years there have been hundreds of bass tournaments on Grand Lake, but there has never been one quite like this.

The CITGO Bassmaster Elite 100 Series "Sooner Run" tournament, Thursday through Sunday, will be one of the biggest events in the history of Grand Lake. The tournament will feature 106 of the world's top professional BASS fisherman competing for almost $700,000 in prize money, including a $100,000 grand prize.

The Elite Series is comprised of the world's top professional bass fishing pros competing in 11 events between March and September for a total of $7.4 million.

In his second year in the Bassmaster Elite Series, Terry Butcher of Talala, said fishing at this level of competition is a "dream come true."

"This is what just about every bass fisherman wants — to be able to go fishing for a living," Butcher said.

And Butcher said he is glad to be fishing close to home.

"It’s nice to not have to drive a thousand miles to a tournament," he said. "And being on a lake I am familiar with may help a little, although the guys fishing this tournament are really good. It doesn't take them long to find the fish no matter what lake they are on."

With water levels up, the fishing should be good on Grand Lake, said Gene Gilliland, senior fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"There may be a very few bass on the tail end of the spawn, but most anglers will likely be looking for bass in a post-spawn pattern," Gilliland said. "I expect the fishing to be very competitive and it could take as much as 20 pounds a day to win the tournament."

The fact that a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament is taking place on Grand Lake is not mere coincidence.

"In this series, they are trying to put the best anglers on the best lakes at the best times of the year,” Gilliland said. “The selection of Grand Lake is a great testament to the bass fishery and to Oklahoma's reputation as a bass fishing destination."

Oklahoma will be well represented at the Elite tournament. In addition to Butcher, nine other Bassmaster pro anglers call Oklahoma home: Edwin Evers of Talala, Jimmy Houston of Cookson, Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Kenyon Hill of Norman, Dave Smith of Del City, Bradley Hallman of Norman, Ken Cook of Lawton, Jeff Reynolds of Idabel, and Tommy Biffle of Wagoner.

About 8,000 people are expected to attend the family-friendly event. The daily launches and weigh-ins are free and open to the public at North Beach Development Area (61201 East 270 Road). Daily launches begin at 6 a.m. and weigh-ins take place at 3 p.m.

Additionally, fans can catch the event on ESPN2, cable channel 26, at 9 a.m., June 10.